Yesterday, Pope Francis announced the creation of 20 new cardinals from 18 different countries. As we have come to expect, many of his choices are surprising. Several major sees including dioceses in America were overlooked, while some dioceses received a red hat for the first time. Here is how the new cardinals break down:
- 7 from Europe
- 5 from Latin America
- 3 from Asia
- 3 from Africa
- 2 from Oceania
- and of those 20, 5 are over the age of 80
Only one new cardinal was from the Curia: Archbishop Dominique Mamberti who replaces Cardinal Burke as head of the Apostolic Signatura. Interestingly, Mamberti is from Morocco.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi commented Sunday on Francis’ choices:
The new nominations confirm that the pope is not bound to the traditions of the Cardinalatial Sees which were motivated by historical reasons in different countries in which the Cardinalate was considered almost automatically connected to such sees…Instead, we have several nominations of Archbishops and Bishops of sees that in the past have not had a Cardinal.
Robert Mickens over at National Catholic Reporter has given a short bio of each of the men who will be made cardinals in the upcoming consistory. It is worth a quick glance.
We will have to wait and see what all this means for the governance of the Church. However, there can be little doubt that Francis is calling for a new spirit, new blood, and fresh reforms even among the “princes of the Church.”