Want to see Pope Francis’ vision for the church? Look at his new cardinals
By Josephine Mckenna | Religion News Service January 5
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis reinforced his radical reshaping of the Catholic Church by naming 20 new cardinals from countries as far afield as Ethiopia, Tonga, Thailand and Panama.
The clerics — who come from 18 different countries — include 15 who are eligible to vote for the pope’s successor in a future conclave, and five retired bishops and archbishops “distinguished for their pastoral charity” who are over age 80 and ineligible to select the next pontiff.
Dissatisfied with the slow pace of change in Rome, Francis has made appointments that reflect his desire for “pastors on the front line of difficult situations,” one Vatican observer said, who can bring a new perspective from the often overlooked outposts of global Christianity.
The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the choices showed the pope’s most important criteria was “universality,” and indicated he was not “chained to tradition” as he moves the balance of power at the highest levels of the church closer to the developing world.
It is the first time ever that cardinals have been selected from Tonga, Myanmar and Cape Verde to become “princes of the church.” There are only five Europeans included among the 15 new electors — two from Italy and three others. The United States was shut out for the second time in a row.
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.