On Sunday, Pope Francis made the announcement that at a consistory that will take place at the end of September in the Vatican, 21 churchgoers from various parts of the world would be formally sworn in as cardinals.
18 of the 21 new cardinals are under 80 years old, so they could participate in a papal conclave to choose a new pope.
Since becoming the head of the Catholic Church a decade ago, the pope has named new cardinals nine times.
Over two-thirds of the more than 130 cardinals eligible to elect a new pope at the Vatican have now been chosen by him.
Progressively, the ones who will decide in favor of whoever succeeds Francis, in case of his renunciation or passing, are churchmen who line up with his qualities, needs, and points of view, and offer his vision for the fate of the Catholic Church.
Who is appointed by the Pope?
In contrast to his predecessors, whose selections were largely eurocentric, Francis has primarily focused on promoting clergy from developing nations as cardinal.
Bishop Stephen Sau-yan Chow of Hong Kong and Monsignor Pierbattista Pizzaballa of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Vatican’s top official in the Middle East, are among the new cardinals.
The archbishops of Tabora in Tanzania, Cape Town in South Africa, and Juba in South Sudan are among those who have become cardinals. The emeritus archbishop of Cumana, Venezuela, the archbishop of Cordoba, Argentina, and a 96-year-old Capuchin priest from Buenos Aires are among those from Latin America.
Following his weekly Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace on Saint Peter’s Square, the pope said, “Their provenance expresses the universality of the Church that continues to proclaim God’s merciful love to all people on earth.”