The announcement puts the pope’s mark on the group that will one day choose his successor after his death or resignation.
Pope Francis has announced that he will elevate 21 churches to the top rank of cardinal, again putting his stamp on the group that will one day choose his successor after his death or resignation.
The ceremony to install them, known as a consistory, will be held on September 30, the 86-year-old Francis announced on Sunday during his noon prayer for pilgrims and tourists in St Peter’s Square.
Eighteen of the churches are under 80 and may enter a conclave at the end to choose the next pope. The other three, who are over 80 and too old to vote in the conclave, were named in recognition of their long service to the Church.
All cardinals, regardless of age, are allowed to participate in pre-conclave meetings known as General Congregations, which give them a say in the type of pope they think their younger brother will choose. which are cardinals.
The new cardinals come from countries including the United States, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, Spain, Colombia, South Sudan, Hong Kong, Poland, Malaysia, Tanzania and Portugal.
Three of the new cardinals were recently named as heads of major Vatican departments, including Argentine Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department.
Another significant teaching is that of Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-Yan in Hong Kong. Chow is one of the main links of the Catholic Church in communist China, where the Vatican is trying to improve the situation of Catholics.
For decades, the Vatican and China have experienced tensions that have alternated between improving relations over the Communist-led country’s insistence that it has the right to appoint bishops and imprison priests who claimed loyalty to the pope.
On Sunday, in comments before his reading of the list of new cardinals, Pope Francis also expressed the hope that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities will hold “direct dialogue” to end the “spiral of violence” – a reference to the recent deadly attack in Israel. force.
Cardinals serve as advisers to the pope on matters of teaching and administration, including the scandal-plagued finances of the Vatican. But their most important duty is to convene a secret meeting to elect the next pope.
Francis has named several batches of new cardinals during his 10-year papacy. I mean, more and more, the people who will vote for who will replace him, once he resigns or dies, are churches that support his values, priorities and vision.