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Pope names 21 new cardinals, two from Asia

Pope Francis announced a consistory for creation of new cardinals from around the world to be held at the Vatican on Sept. 30

Pope Francis embracing a cardinal at a recent consistory

Pope Francis embracing a cardinal at a recent consistory. (Photo: Vatican News)

Published: July 10, 2023 05:05 AM GMT

Updated: July 10, 2023 06:41 AM GMT

Pope Francis on Sunday named 21 new cardinals, including Malaysian Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang and Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-yan of Hong Kong.

Bishop Francis, 71, will be the second Malaysian cardinal after Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez, who died in October 2020.

Bishop Chow, 63, will be the fourth Hong Kong cardinal. Others are the late John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung, Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, 91, and John Tong Hon, 83.

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Pope Francis said the new cardinals from across the world will be inducted into the College of Cardinals at the end of September, which many believe will leave his imprint on the Church.

The upcoming assembly of cardinals, scheduled for September 30 and known as a consistory, will be the ninth for Pope Francis, 86, who became pope a decade ago and is seeking to put a lasting stamp on the institution.

"Their provenance expresses the universality of the Church that continues to proclaim God's merciful love to all people on earth," said the pope, following his weekly Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace on Saint Peter's Square.

Francis' new choices are closely watched as an indication of the future direction of the Catholic Church and its priorities for the 1.3 billion faithful.

All cardinals under the age of 80, including 18 out of the group named on Sunday, are known as "cardinal electors", who will participate in the vote to nominate the successor to Pope Francis.

Following the consistory in late September, there will be 137 cardinal electors, about three-quarters of whom will have been appointed by Francis.

Since becoming pope, Francis has sought to elevate clergy from developing nations far from Rome to the highest ranks of the Church, as part of his general philosophy of diversity and inclusion.

The names Francis announced Sunday include clergy in regions where Christianity is growing, such as Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Among the archbishops to become cardinals are those of Juba in South Sudan, Cape Town in South Africa and Tabora in Tanzania.

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the top Catholic in the Holy Land, Italy's Pierbattista Pizzaballa, whose archdiocese encompasses Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus, also will be inducted.

Missionaries and administrators

Francis is also tapping the heads of key dicasteries, including the Italian Claudio Gugerotti, currently prefect for the Dicastery of the Eastern Churches, and Argentina's Victor Manuel Fernandez, chosen earlier this month by the pope to head the powerful Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Chicago-born head of the Dicastery for Bishops, Robert Prevost, who is charged with overseeing bishop appointments and a longtime missionary in Peru, was also named, as was the Holy See's apostolic nuncio, or diplomat, to the United States, Christophe Pierre from France, who has also served as envoy in Haiti, Uganda and Mexico.

Included from Latin America is the emeritus archbishop of Cumana, Venezuela, the archbishop of Cordoba in Argentina, and a 96-year-old Capuchin priest from Buenos Aires.

The last consistory was held in August 2022, when Francis inducted 20 cardinals.

Cardinals, who wear the scarlet robes of their office, serve as the pope's top advisers and administrators.

During the consistory, the future cardinals kneel one by one at the feet of the pope, who places on their heads the quadrangular scarlet cap, or biretta.

Following the ceremony, the Vatican holds a traditional "courtesy visit", in which the new cardinals greet the general public.

Here is the list of the new cardinals:

-- U.S.-born Archbishop Robert F. Prevost, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, 67.

-- Italian Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches, 67.

-- Argentine Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata, Argentina, incoming prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. He will turn 61 July 18.

-- Swiss Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, the apostolic nuncio to Argentina, 76.

-- French Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, 77.

-- Italian Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, 58.

-- South African Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, 66.

-- Argentine Archbishop Ángel Sixto Rossi of Córdoba, 64. He is a member of the Society of Jesus.

-- Colombian Archbishop Luis José Rueda Aparicio of Bogotá, 61.

-- Polish Archbishop Grzegorz Rys of Lódz, 59.

-- South Sudanese Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla of Juba, 59.

-- Spanish Archbishop José Cobo Cano of Madrid, 57.

-- Tanzanian Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, coadjutor archbishop of Tabora, 63.

-- Malaysian Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, Malaysia, 71.

-- Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-yan of Hong Kong, 63. Born in Hong Kong, he is a member of the Society of Jesus.

-- Bishop François-Xavier Bustillo of Ajaccio in Corsica, France, 54. Born in Spain, he is a member of the Conventual Franciscans.

-- Portuguese Auxiliary Bishop Américo Alves Aguiar of Lisbon, 49.

-- Spain-born Salesian Father Ángel Fernández Artime, rector major of the Salesians, 62.

Those named cardinal and over the age of 80:

-- Italian Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, a retired papal nuncio, a former curial official and a respected historian of the Second Vatican Council, 82.

-- Retired Archbishop Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez of Cumaná, Venezuela, 84.

-- Capuchin Father Luis Pascual Dri, confessor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei, Buenos Aires, 96.


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