Today, Pope Francis announced 19 cardinals from his window in St. Peters Square where tens of thousands were in attendance to hear the naming of the “princes of the church.” The pope’s first round of appointments since being elected in March of 2013 included 16 men who are younger than 80 which satisfies the need for 120 eligible cardinals to elect the next pope. A cardinal’s most important task in the election of a new pope. The descending order of clergy are cardinal, archbishop, bishop, monsignor, priest and deacon.
The Pope appointed 19 cardinals from around the world including developing nations such as Haiti and Burkina Faso showing that he continues to focus on the poor. Ten of the appointments included men from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia. Only four announcements came from within the Curia. The Curia serves as the Holy See’s governmental cabinet that is made up of men appointed by the pope and are responsible for the administrative and judicial functions of the Vatican.
Pope Francis did not choose any clergy from the U.S. to receive what is known as the “red hat.” Six of the cardinals are from Latin American and the Caribbean including Brazil, Nicaragua, Haiti, Chile and the island of Saint Lucia. Pope Francis, of Argentina, also named his successor Aurelio Pauli who became archbishop of Argentina when Francis was elected as pope.
The 19 that Pope Francis announced as cardinals contained a few notable choices including, Gérald Cyprien Lacroix from Quebec, Orlando B. Quevedo archbishop of Cotabato from the Philippines, Andrew Yeom Soo-jung from Seoul, South Korea, Vincent Nichols the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The archbishop of Ouagadougou the capital Berkina Faso, Philipe Ouedraogo, said that he thought reporters were joking when they called to get his comment on being named as cardinal. Quedraogo had no advance warning from the Vatican about his appointment. The youngest appointee, at 55 years of age, is Chibly Langlois from Les Cayes a seaport town in southwest Haiti which is marking the fourth anniversary of the earthquake that killed tens of thousands.
Gerard O’Connell, a Rome-based contributor to the online publication Vatican Insider, indicated that Pope Francis was breaking from tradition. No longer are the archbishops of large Italian cities automatically named to the position of cardinal. He also noted that the lack of U.S. appointments was non-traditional but also said that North America has often had a large representation in the voting power of cardinals.
O’Connell outlined the voting block with 19 from South America, 61 from Europe, 15 from North America and 13 electors from Asia and Africa.
Pope Francis, while reading the names of the 19 cardinals, stated that the men represented every part of the world and the deep relationship of ministry from the Church of Rome to the churches throughout the world. Pope Francis emphasized that the church should not view itself as elite and removed from is flock. That is was the duty of the church to tend to the needs of the members; most especially the poor and others who were lacking a belief in God. The formal installation ceremony for the cardinals will be held on Feb. 22.
By Anthony Clark