Pope Francis Announces New Cardinals

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.”



  1. Based on the bio work of Mickens, many of these nominees have served in positions they were elected to by their bishops’ conferences. Could one of the criteria of Francis be that he wants many of the new cardinals to have shown in this way that they have credibility among other bishops?

  2. Another 19 cardinals will age out over the next two years. Francis may have the opportunity to remake the face of this ancient body. He’s certainly off to a great start. Maybe when he is ready to appoint some Americans, the bishops of places like Little Rock, Cheyenne, or Salt Lake City will get a red hat. Wouldn’t that put a monkey wrench in clerical climbing? Long live Francis!

  3. Viva Papa Francisco! For an outsider new to Rome he certainly doesn’t let himself be intimidated by anyone. I just hope he finds some way to appoint women, both lay and religious, to positions of responsibility.

  4. I know of at least one of the new cardinals that will be visiting the United States soon, now bishop then Cardinal Soane of Tonga will be presiding over Mass at the LA Religious Education Congress in March.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *