Francis chooses new cardinals from the margins

National Catholic Reporter

Robert Mickens | Jan. 5, 2015 A Roman Observer

If any other pope had produced a list of newly designated cardinals similar to the one Pope Francis unveiled Sunday, the reaction would have been shock and disbelief.
Instead, there was only momentary surprise.

Cardinals for the first time in ecclesiastical backwaters such as Tonga, Myanmar, Panama and Cape Verde? Only one Roman Curia official on the list? Still not a single American named by Francis? And two of Italy’s traditional “cardinal sees,” Turin and Venice, snubbed for Ancona and Agrigento, places that haven’t been by led by a prelate with a red hat in 100 years?

Welcome to the Era of Francis. The 78-year-old Jesuit pope announced the names of 15 new cardinal-electors and five other non-voters over the age of 80 who will become cardinals Feb. 14 at the Vatican.

His choices belie a preference for those on the peripheries and the men who pastor them, those who are on the margins of the church and society.

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