Pope Francis has announced he will create 13 new cardinals on October 5, choosing prelates from 13 different nations as a sign of “the missionary vocation of the Church that continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all men and women of the earth”.
Cardinal-designate Jesuit Fr Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Section for Migrants and Refugees at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, who Pope Francis had earlier named as a special secretary for the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, was in Guararema, Brazil, when the announcement was made. He said that he had not known he was going to be made a cardinal.
Announcing the names of the new cardinals on September 1, the Pope included 10 men who are under the age of 80 and therefore will be eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new Pope. Three of the future cardinals are already over the age of 80, and the Pope said he chose them because of their service to the Church.
“Let us pray for the new cardinals so that, confirming their adhesion to Christ, they will help me in my ministry as bishop of Rome for the good of the entire faithful, holy people of God,” the Pope told pilgrims who had gathered to pray the midday Angelus with him.
In addition to Cardinal-designate Czerny, two other members of the group are also Vatican officials: 67-year-old Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; and 53-year-old Archbishop Jose Tolentino Medonca, Vatican archivist and librarian.
One of the over-80 cardinals-designate is 82-year-old Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, a Missionary of Africa born in England, who had served as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and later as Vatican nuncio to Egypt.
The others, in the order they were named by the Pope, were:
– Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, Indonesia, 69.
– Archbishop Juan Garcia Rodriguez of Havana, 71.
– Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa, Congo, 59.
– Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, 61.
– Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, 72.
– Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, Italy, 63.
– Archbishop Cristobal Lopez Romero of Rabat, Morocco, 67.
– Retired Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius of Kaunas, Lithuana, 80.
– Retired Bishop Eugenio dal Corso of Benguela, Angola, 80.
As it stands now, the College of Cardinals has 215 members, 118 of whom are electors.