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Pope Francis creates 20 new cardinals who may choose his successor

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Pope Francis created 20 new cardinals on Saturday, a further step in preparing for his succession.

The eighth pope to take office since the 2013 election defies speculation that the 85-year-old pope will step down after knee pain forced him to use a wheelchair for months. is. Day.

At 4pm (1400 GMT) on Saturday, under the gilt roofs of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Pope will appoint 20 new cardinals, of whom 16 “electors” – those under the age of 80 – will become future leaders. You will be able to participate in the conclave of .

The appointment of these high prelates to assist the Pope is being scrutinized by observers as indicative of the future spiritual leaders of the 1.3 billion Catholics.

Sensitive to minority communities and evangelism, the Argentinean Jesuits preferred a lesser-expected profile, freed from the traditional choice of a metropolitan archbishop.

With five Asians, including two Indians, this consists underscores the continent’s rise to power. Vatican expert Bernard Lecomte stresses that it is also “representative of today’s church, which has a large footprint in the Southern Hemisphere”, home to 80% of Catholics.

“I am very honored.”

At the end of this constellation for the first time since November 2020, Pope Francis has chosen 83 cardinals from the current total of 132 electors. This is almost two-thirds the percentage required to elect a new pope. This choice is always unpredictable, but .

With 40% of voters, Europe remains the most represented continent, ahead of South America and Asia (16% each), Africa (13%) and North America (12%).

Among notable figures is American Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, California, who is considered progressive in his stance, especially against gay Catholics.

Also noteworthy is the unexpected choice of Giorgio Marengo, an Italian missionary active in Mongolia who, at age 48, will become the world’s youngest cardinal.

Alongside them, Jean-Marc Avrine, Archbishop of Marseille, will become the sixth Frenchman to join the ranks of the Cardinals. Committing and even obliging me to the mission,” said the 63-year-old Archbishop Avelin.

New cardinal receives red cap and ring

Other men in the field wearing purple robes are Nigeria’s Peter Okpareke, Brazil’s Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, and the Archbishop of East Timor, Virgilio do Carmo da Silva.

Three future cardinals already hold positions of responsibility in the Vatican’s “government”, the Holy See. Britain’s Arthur Roche, South Korea’s Lazaro Yu Heung-sik and Spain’s Fernando Bergez Arzaga.

As is customary, all kneel before the pope to receive the red biretta and cardinal’s ring. A ceremony attended by French Interior Minister Gerard Dalmanin will be followed by a traditional “courtship” to the Vatican, where the public will be able to greet the new cardinal.

This will be followed on Monday and Tuesday by meetings with cardinals from around the world that the Pope of Argentina hoped to bring together to discuss the new Vatican “constitution” that came into force in June and its future. will be killed. church.

Jorge Bergoglio recently accelerated the reform of the Holy See and its finances to increase transparency.

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