Pope names new cardinals, including the first African American
Ceremony was reduced because of the covid-19 pandemic
Pope Francis inaugurated on Saturday (28) 13 new cardinals, including the first African American to occupy the position, further expanding the impact of the pontiff on the group that will one day elect his successor.
The cardinals were sworn in at a ceremony known as the consistory, which was considerably reduced because of the covid-19 pandemic. Instead of the usual thousands, only ten guests per cardinal were allowed in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Nine of the 13 cardinals are under the age of 80 and are eligible, under Church law, to enter a secret conclave in order to choose the next pope from among them after Francis dies or resigns.
It was Francis’ seventh consistory since his election in 2013. He has already appointed 57% of the 128 cardinal voters, most of whom share his vision of a more inclusive Church.
So far, the pope has appointed 18 cardinals from countries that have never had one, almost all of them in the developing world. In yesterday’s consistory, Brunei and Rwanda had their first cardinals.
Although Europe still has the largest share of cardinal voters, at 41%, that number fell from 52% in 2013, when Francis became the first Latin American pope.
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