Pope names nineteen new cardinals, from twelve countries and all continents

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Pope names nineteen new cardinals, from twelve countries and all continents

Gerard O'connell

Pope Francis has sprung some big surprises today when he announced the names of the 19 new cardinals whom he will create on February 22. They come from fifteen countries, including some of the poorest countries in the world, and all five continents.

Sixteen are cardinal electors with a right to vote in a conclave, among them are six Europeans (including four Italians), five Latin Americans,two Africans, two Asians and one North American (from Canada). Significantly, twelve of are residential bishops that currently govern a diocese. The other three cardinals are over the age of 80 and so cannot vote in a conclave.

Five notable hallmarks distinguish this first batch of cardinals named by the Argentinean Pope: universality, attention to the peripheries of the world, and a break with the tradition of giving the red hat to the heads of 8 major Italian dioceses.
Universality is the first hallmark. The 16 new cardinal electors come from all five continents: six from Europe,ive from Latin and Central America, two from Asia, two from Africa, andone from North America (Canada).

The second hallmark is a distinguishing aspect of this pontificate: attention to countries and peoples on the peripheries of the world that suffer from poverty, diseases, violence, natural disasters, and for whom life is a daily struggles five of the new cardinals (including four electors) come from Haiti, the Antilles, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, the Philippines. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas, often hit by violence and natural disaster. Nicaragua is also among the poorest countries in the Americas, and struggling with political tensions. The Antilles are islands in the Caribbean, where so many live on the bare minimum. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in Africa. The Ivory Coast has been plagued by civil war, internal strife and much poverty. The Philippines suffers from widespread poverty, natural disasters and the conflict in Mindanao. Both Haiti and the Antilles have never had a cardinal before.

Another particularly striking aspect is the Pope’s decision to break with the tradition that the heads of the nine major Italian dioceses should be cardinals. Since the Lateran Pacts in 1929, it was customary to assign red hats to the archbishops of nine major Italian sees beginning with Rome and, in descending order by reason of the number of faithful, Milan, Turin, Naples, Palermo, Bologna, Florence, Genoa, and Venice. That is no longer the case.

Pope Francis by-passed Turin and Venice, and gave a red hat instead to the archbishop of Perugia, Gualtiero Bassetti, vice president of the Italian bishop’s conference, a pastoral, meek and prayerful man, the qualities the Pope likes in a bishop. It’s interesting to note that the last archbishop of Perugia to be given a red hat was Gioacchino Pecci, the future Pope Leo XIII, in 1853.

A fourth significant feature is that Pope Francis has kept the new European electors to a minimum. Four hold senior positions in the Roman Curia and will receive the red hat: Parolin (Italy)--the Secretary of State; Baldisseri (Italy)-- Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, a body the Pope wants to strengthen with a view to developing synodality in the Church; Muller (Germany--the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a man that is very close to Benedict XVI who appointed him to this post in July 2012; Stella (Italy) –the Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.

In this context, the choice of the two other European electors stands out: Nichols of Westminster (England) and Bassetti of Perugia (Italy), both of whom he appointed to the Congregation for Bishops earlier in the month.

The fifth significant aspect of the list is that the Pope did not give a red hat to any of thepresidents of the Pontifical Councils as had been the practice in recent decades, nor did he give one to the Prefect of the Vatican Library and Archives. In this way he is diminishing future expectations in the Roman Curia, and putting a curb on careerism.

It came as no surprise that the Argentinean Pope gave five red hats to Latin and Central America, where more than 40 per cent of the Catholics of the world live. As expected he gave one to his successor in Buenos Aires, Mario Poli, and to the archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Orani Joao Tempesta who hosted the World Youth Day last year. He also recognized the archbishop of Santiago del Chile, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, and the archbishop of Managua, Leopol Brenes Solorzano. But he surprised again by naming as cardinal, Chibly Langois, the bishop of Les Cayes and President of the Haitian Bishops’ Conference.

The only new cardinal elector in North America will be Gerald Cyprien La Croix, the archbishop of Quebec. It would seem that Francis did not create any new elector in the United States because like Italy, though to a lesser extent, the USA has already a disproportionate number of electors (11) in proportion to the size of its Catholic population (7 per cent of the world’s Catholics),even more than Brazil (5). Italy has gained cardinal electors in this consistory mainly due to the fact that Italians have key positions in the Roman Curia, but its number is destined to decrease even this year.

In Asia the Pope gave red hats to key archbishops in the Philippines and South Korea. In the Philippines, the most populous Catholic country of Asia, the Pope sprung a surprise by naming as cardinal Orlando Beltran Quevedo, the archbishop of Cotabato. He is leader in an area that is a melting pot of Christians and Muslims, a respected peace advocate and knowledgeable observer of the conflict ridden situation in Mindanao, and former Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences.

In South Korea, he recognized the Archbishop of Seoul, Andrew Yeom Soo jung, descendant of a Korean martyr and leader of a flourishing and vibrant Church, as well as and apostolic administrator of the Pyongyang in this divided country.

In Africa, the Jesuit Pope chose the leading archbishops of Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast: Philippe Ouédrago, archbishop of Ouagadougou, and Jean-Pierre Kutwa, archbishop of Abidjan, both sees had cardinals before.

Prior to his announcement on Sunday, January 12, there had been much speculation in Rome that Pope Francis would increase the membership of the college of cardinal electors from the present number of 120, established by Paul VI, to 130 or more, but he decided not to do so. This left him with 14 red hats to assign on February 22–-the actual number of vacancies in the college of cardinal electors on that day. But aware that two more cardinals would reach the age of 80 before the end of May, he decided to take that into account too, and raised the number to 16.

As a result of his decision, the College of Cardinal Electors will have 122 members on February 22, composed as follows: Europeans 59 (Italians 29), Latin Americans 19, North Americans 15, Africans 13, Asians 13, and Oceania one. But the number of Europeans will drop to 56 (Italians to 26) on May 28.

By comparison, 115 cardinal electors participated in the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis: 60 Europeans, 19 Latin Americans, 14 Americans, 11 Africans, 10 Asians and 1 from Oceania.

The names of the new cardinals are:

1. Pietro Parolin (Italy), the Secretary of State.
2. Lorenzo Baldisseri (Italy), Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
3. Gerhard Muller (Germany), Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
4. Benjamin Stella, (Italy), Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
5. Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster (England).
6. Leopol Brenes Solorzano, archbishop of Managua (Nicaragua).
7. Gerald Cyprien La Croix, archbishop of Quebec (Canada).
8. Jean-Pierre Kutwa, archbishop of Abidjan (Ivory Coast).
9. Orani Joao Tempesta, archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
10. Gualtiero Bassetti, archbishop of Perugia-Citta’ della Pieve (Italy).
11. Mario Aurelio Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina).
12. Andrew Yeom Soo jung archbishop of Seoul and apostolic administrator of Pyongyang(Korea)
13. Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, archbishop of Santiago de Chile (Chile)
14. Philippe Ouédrago, archbishop of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).
15. Orlando B. Quevedo, archbishop of Cotabato (Philippines).
16. Chibly Langois, bishop of Les Cayes (Haiti)
17. Loris Capovilla, titular archbishop of Mesembria (Italy).
18. Fernando Sebastian Aguillar, emeritus archbishop of Pamplona (Spain).
19. Kelvin Felix, emeritus archbishop of Castries (the Antilles).

Mon, 01/13/2014 - 11:26
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