Pope to appoint 21 new cardinals from across the world

Pope Francis has announced his plan to appoint 21 new cardinals from various parts of the world, with the official ceremony set to take place at the end of September. This decision reflects the pope’s desire to leave a lasting impact on the papacy and shape the future of the Catholic Church.

During his weekly Sunday Angelus prayer from the Apostolic Palace on Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis emphasized that the selection of these new cardinals represents the universal nature of the Church, which continues to spread God’s merciful love to all people on Earth.

The nomination of these cardinals carries significant weight as it indicates the direction and priorities of the Catholic Church, which has approximately 1.3 billion faithful worldwide. All cardinals under the age of 80, including 18 of the newly appointed ones, are known as “cardinal electors” and will have the privilege of participating in the selection of the next pope.

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By the end of September, there will be a total of 137 cardinal electors, with around three-quarters of them appointed by Pope Francis. Since assuming the papacy, Pope Francis has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within the Church, particularly by elevating clergy from developing nations that are geographically distant from Rome to positions of authority.

The list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis includes clergy from regions where Christianity is experiencing growth, such as Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Notable among them are the archbishops of Juba in South Sudan, Cape Town in South Africa, and Tabora in Tanzania. The bishop of Penang, Malaysia, and the bishop of Hong Kong, Stephen Chow Sau-Yan, who holds a Harvard PhD in psychology and will play a crucial role in improving the Church’s relationship with communist China, are also among the appointed cardinals.

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Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the highest-ranking Catholic figure in the Holy Land, as well as Italy’s Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Jerusalem, which encompasses Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, and Cyprus, will also be inducted as cardinals.

In addition to these regional appointments, Pope Francis has chosen heads of key dicasteries to become cardinals. This includes Claudio Gugerotti from Italy, currently serving as prefect for the Dicastery of the Eastern Churches, and Victor Manuel Fernandez from Argentina, who was recently selected by the pope to lead the influential Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Other notable figures among the new cardinals are Robert Prevost from the United States, the head of the Dicastery for Bishops and a longtime missionary in Peru, and Christophe Pierre from France, who serves as the Holy See’s apostolic nuncio to the United States and has also held diplomatic positions in Haiti, Uganda, and Mexico.

Several representatives from Latin America are also included in the list, such as the emeritus archbishop of Cumana, Venezuela, the archbishop of Cordoba in Argentina, and a 96-year-old Capuchin priest from Buenos Aires.

Cardinals, identified by their distinctive scarlet robes, play a vital role as advisers and administrators to the pope. During the consistory, the new cardinals kneel before the pope one by one, and he places a scarlet cap, known as a biretta, on their heads. Following the ceremony, a traditional “courtesy visit” is held at the Vatican, allowing the newly appointed cardinals to greet the general public.

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