Pope Francis will appoint 17 new cardinals in November, including three from the U.S. and a number from the developing world, a move that reflects his goal of rebalancing the college of cardinals toward regions where Catholicism is growing fastest, as well as his preference for liberals over conservatives.
The new U.S. cardinals, who are the first from the country to be named by Pope Francis, include the archbishops of Chicago and Indianapolis and a former bishop of Dallas. The pope will also elevate to cardinal the Vatican’s envoy to what he called “beloved and martyred Syria.”
With this batch of cardinals, Pope Francis will have nominated more than a third of the men whose most important task is the election of a new pope. Of the 17 new cardinals named, 13 are under the age of 80 and so will qualify as electors.
Pope Francis made the announcement to a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, saying he would elevate the men to the rank of cardinal at a ceremony on Nov. 19. He said the international nature of his choices—from 11 countries on five continents—reflects a church that is witness to the “mercy of God in every corner of the world.”
The group includes the first cardinals in history from Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. The cardinal designate from the Central African Republic, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui, was born in 1967, which will make him the youngest member of the College of Cardinals.
These new appointments will bring the number of cardinal electors to 121, including Cardinal Théodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, who reaches the age of 80 on Nov. 28. His birthday will then bring the number down to the limit of 120 established by Pope Paul VI.
Culled from Wall Street Journal