College of Cardinals now less Eurocentric

Pope Francis elevated 13 new cardinals on Saturday making the College of Cardinals more representative of the universal Church.

Only 11 cardinals participated in the consistory in St Peter’s Basilica all having been in quarantine for two weeks and all wore face masks during the ceremony.

Two new cardinals who were unable to be physically present in Rome for the ceremony – Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei and Archbishop José Advincula of the Philippines – attended via video connection.

They will receive a biretta, cardinal’s ring and title connected with a Roman parish from their apostolic nuncio in their own country and at another time.

Coming from Rwanda, the US, Chile, Italy, Mexico, Brunei, Philippines and the Vatican, the new cardinals offer a new ethnic and geographical mix to those entitled to wear the red hat.

In 2013 52 per cent of the College was European, Francis has reduced this to 42 per cent.

Of the new cardinals, Grech, Semeraro, Kambanda, Gregory, Advincula, Aós, Sim, Lojudice and Gambetti are under the age of 80 and are eligible to vote in the conclave to elect the pope’s successor.

Since 2014 Francis has named a total of 73 voting cardinals.

The geographical make-up of those voting cardinals named by Pope Francis works out:

Europe: 28 (38 percent)
North America: 5 (7 percent)
Asia-Pacific: 13 (18 percent))
Latin America-Caribbean: 15 (21 percent)
Sub-Saharan Africa: 10 (14 percent)
Middle East-North Africa: 2 (3 percent)

Although Francis is gradually moving the centre of power in the College away from Europe, in terms of strict numerical “justice”, he must continue naming more cardinals in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the largest share of the world’s Catholics reside.

Warning them not to allow their new red robes to become the colour of a secular ’eminence’”, Francis issued a clear reminder of their purpose in his homily after reading an Gospel of

Referencing Mark’s Gospel (10:32-45), Francis said ‘the road’ is the setting for the scene the Church’s journey.

It is the road of life and history, which is salvation history insofar as it is travelled with Christ and leads to his paschal mystery, he explained.

Francis went on to point out that this Gospel passage is not merely a “backdrop” but also a “road sign” for us who today are journeying together with Jesus.

Jesus is our strength, who gives meaning to our lives and our ministry, he told the new cardinals.

“Jerusalem always lies ahead of us. The cross and the resurrection are part of our history; they are our “today” but also and always the goal of our journey.”


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