Pope Francis inducted twenty cardinals from around the world on Saturday, 27 August. He selected men who shared his vision of a progressive, inclusive Church and helped them choose his successor.
Francis, who is 85 years old, presided over a ceremony known as a consistory. The new cardinals were told by him that they should be concerned for the common people, despite being high-ranking and coming into contact with the powerful.
Francis made his eighth attempt to influence future Church affairs with this ceremony. He was joined by a new group cardinals who will serve as his top advisors and administrators at the Vatican and all around the world.
Participants below 80 can take part in the conclave to elect a new pope.
They come from France, South Korea, and Britain.
Francis said: “A Cardinal loves God and the Church, always with a same spiritual fire whether dealing avec great questions, daily problems, or with the powerful of this world.”
As they sat in front of the main altar at St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis asked them to think back on “poor families and migrants”,
His homily was delivered with a powerful voice.
Francis was elected pope in 2013. He has selected 83 of the 132 cardinal votes, which is approximately 63%.
With each consistory, Francis continues to “tilt toward Asia”. This makes it more likely that the next pope will come from this region which is rapidly becoming an economic and political powerhouse.
The 85-year-old pontiff said last month that he would prefer to resign than die in office for future health reasons. He also suggested that he could name more cardinals for next year.
After Francis read his homily, he gave each of the recipients their ring and red hat. This colour reminds them to be willing and able to shed their blood for the faith.
Since his election as Latin American pope, Francis has violated many of the rules that his predecessors used to select cardinals. He prefers men from developing and smaller cities to cardinals than those from capitals.
The Archbishop Leonardo Steiner (Brazil) is the first cardinal from Amazonia. This is an indication of Francis’ concern about the environment and indigenous peoples.
Archbishop Giorgio Marengo is another surprise cardinal candidate. He is an Italian priest and administrator of the Catholic Church, Mongolia. He is the youngest cardinal and is 48 years of age.
Mongolia has less than 1500 Catholics. However, it is strategic because it borders China. The Vatican is trying to improve the situation for Catholics in Mongolia.
“The Holy Father is there for the Church, no matter where it might be found in the world. According to him, a small community before the ceremony is as important as a larger one after it.
A notable appointment from richer nations is Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, California. He is considered to be a progressive. Francis was the first cardinal of San Diego and bypassed Los Angeles’ conservative archbishops.
McElroy was an ally of Francis’ pastoral approach to social issues, such as the protection and preservation of the environment, and more welcoming of gay Catholics.
He also opposed conservative U.S. clergymen like President Joe Biden and Speaker of The House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. They would prohibit Catholic politicians from receiving communion because they support abortion rights.
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