By Philip Pullella January 4, 2015
Pope Francis on Sunday named new cardinals to the group that will choose his successor, with appointments that strengthened the Catholic Church in Asia, Africa and Latin America and further shifted its power center away from the developed world.
It was the second time the 78-year-old Francis has used the appointment of cardinals to put his stamp on the 1.2 billion-member church. The two sets of appointments increase the chances that the next pontiff will, like Francis, be a non-European.
Only one of the new electors is from the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration, which Francis has pledged to overhaul. Last month, the pope said the Curia was infected with careerism, scheming, greed and “spiritual Alzheimer’s”.
Francis’ nominees now make up a quarter of the 125 “cardinal electors” under 80 years old — easily enough to sway the election of a new pope when Francis dies or resigns.
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