Pope appoints 20 new cardinals

Pope appoints 20 new cardinals

Environmental Protection Agency

NOS . News

  • Andrea Freddy

    Vatican correspondent

  • Andrea Freddy

    Vatican correspondent

Can the Pope determine who will succeed him? Answer: No. However, he could do what was necessary regarding the composition of the body of cardinals that would eventually elect the new pope. By appointing the cardinals (“creation” in church parlance) who, in his eyes, do their job well. Cardinals who widely share his vision for the future of the Church.

This appointment must be made with a certain regularity, because according to the rules, there must be about 120 electoral cardinals at a secret meeting. Cardinals lose their right to vote at the age of 80 and are usually not the youngest when they get their basic hats. Occasionally a person dies before he reaches this age. For this reason, with the exception of 2021, Francis has maintained the number of elective cardinals with new appointments each year since taking office in 2013.

With and without voting rights

Today, twenty new cardinals in St Peter’s Basilica will receive their red hat from the Pope. This event is called Consistory, the meeting of the Cardinal. Sixteen of them are under the age of eighty and can therefore vote at the next secret meeting. The other four are older and receive the primary title as a reward for services rendered. If there is a secret meeting, they can participate in public meetings in advance, but no longer vote.

from all over the world

As in previous associations, Francis selected outstanding candidates. Not the bishops or bishops of the cities from which the cardinals always came, such as Milan, Venice or Paris, but for example the archbishop of Marseille and the bishop of Como. In the United States, the bishop of the small city of San Diego can look forward to the often coveted cardinal’s hat, while his colleagues from San Francisco and Los Angeles are once again outspoken.

In his choices, Francis also considers regions further from Rome and the West. For example, now in Mongolia there is a cardinal in the person of the 48-year-old young bishop Giorgio Marengo. In the past, places such as Brunei, Rabat, Haiti, Tonga and Papua New Guinea have already received a cardinal.

With this canon, East Timor is now also added. Although the number of Europeans and North Americans is still large, the influence of other continents is steadily increasing: Latin America, Africa and especially Asia. The latter two are also the areas where the Catholic Church grows.

social commitment

For Francis, two aspects seem to have a great influence in the choice of cardinals: their presence in places where Catholics greatly outnumber and, above all, their social obligation. Helping immigrants, caring for the vulnerable, and protecting the environment are important qualities for new cardinals. Like the Indian Archbishop Anthony Paul who belongs to the Dalits, the lower caste of that country. Or Brazilian Bishop Steiner, a staunch opponent of President Bolsonaro.

to the concave

At the conclave, the pope must be elected by a two-thirds majority. Did Francis appoint his successor? Again no, because the group’s operations are hard to predict and because the race to nominate a pope has just begun.

Francis has said forcefully that he is not considering resigning at this time. But over the next few days, all the cardinals will gather in Rome to discuss the newly implemented reform of Curia, the church’s governing body. They will take this opportunity with both hands to get to know each other better. Under the direction of the Pope who does not know who will come after him, but most likely hopes that he has at least secured his legacy.

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