Twenty-one new cardinals appointed by Pope Francis | Sunday Observer

Twenty-one new cardinals appointed by Pope Francis

10 July, 2023

According to International news media, Pope Francis announced the appointment of 21 churchmen to the prestigious rank of cardinal. Reutters has reported that this decision demonstrates the Pope's influence in shaping the group that will eventually choose his successor.

During his customary weekly appearance in St. Peter's Square, the 86-year-old pontiff revealed that the installation ceremony, known as a consistory, will take place on September 30. This will mark the ninth consistory called by Pope Francis since his historic election as the first pontiff from Latin America a decade ago.

The newly appointed cardinals hail from various countries, including the United States, Italy, Argentina, Switzerland, South Africa, Spain, Colombia, South Sudan, Hong Kong, Poland, Malaysia, Tanzania, and Portugal. Notably, 18 out of the 21 are below the age of 80, making them eligible to participate in a future secret conclave to elect the next pope. These cardinals, known as cardinal electors, will bring the total number of potential papal candidates to 137 after the September consistory. A staggering 73 percent of them were chosen by Pope Francis, signaling a higher likelihood that his vision of a more progressive and inclusive Church will be carried forward.

Among the chosen cardinals, several currently hold or are about to assume prominent positions within the Vatican. Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, 59, from La Plata, Argentina, has been named to lead the Holy See's influential office for ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy and overseeing investigations into allegations of sexual abuse against clergy worldwide. This appointment underscores the Pope's commitment to addressing this grave issue within the Church.

Other notable figures include Hong Kong Bishop Stephen Sau-yan Chow, 64, and Monsignor Pierbattista Pizzaballa, 58, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Vatican's top official in the Middle East, respectively. Both leaders oversee congregations in areas of great geopolitical significance to the Vatican.

Sources: Reuters and NBC News