Pope Francis names 13 new cardinals

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Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Washington was one of 13 new cardinal named by Pope Francis Oct. 25, 2020. He is pictured in a 2019 file photo. PHOTO: CNS/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard

Washington bishop the first African American cardinal

Pope Francis announced he will create 13 new cardinals on 28 November, including Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Washington.

The pope made the announcement at the end of his Angelus address on 25 October, telling the crowd in St Peter’s Square the names of the nine cardinals under the age of 80, who will be eligible to vote in a conclave, and the names of four elderly churchmen whose red hats are a sign of esteem and honour.

In addition to Cardinal-designate Gregory, who will be the first African American cardinal from the United States, the pope chose as cardinal electors two officials of the Roman Curia and bishops from Italy, Rwanda, the Philippines, Chile and Brunei.

In a statement released shortly after the announcement, Cardinal-designate Gregory said, “With a very grateful and humble heart, I thank Pope Francis for this appointment which will allow me to work more closely with him in caring for Christ’s Church”.

Nuns attend the Angelus prayer led by Pope Francis from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 25, 2020. CNS/Remo Casilli, Reuters

Once the consistory is held in late November, there will be 128 cardinals under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave. Pope Francis will have created just over 57 per cent of them. Sixteen of the cardinals created by St John Paul II will still be under 80 as will 39 of the cardinals created by Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis will have created 73 of the electors.

US Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, retired archbishop of Washington, will celebrate his 80th birthday on 12 November, before the consistory. Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, whom the pope dismissed as prefect of the congregation for saints in late September, is 72 but renounced the rights of a cardinal, including the right to enter a conclave to elect a new pope.

Italians will continue to have an outsized portion of the electors, rising to 22 of the 128; the United States will stay at nine voters with Cardinal-designate Gregory taking Cardinal Wuerl’s place.

The Church’s new cardinals:

— Maltese Bishop Mario Grech, 63, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops.

— Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro, 72, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

— Archbishop Antoine Kambanda of Kigali, Rwanda, who will turn 62 on 10 November

— Archbishop Gregory, 72.

— Archbishop Jose F. Advincula of Capiz, Philippines, 68.

— Archbishop Celestino Aos Braco of Santiago, Chile, 75.

— Bishop Cornelius Sim, apostolic vicar of Brunei, 69.

— Italian Archbishop Paolo Lojudice of Siena, 56.

— Franciscan Father Mauro Gambetti, custos of the Sacred Convent of Assisi in Assisi, who was to celebrate his 55th birthday on 27 October.

— Retired Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, 80.

— Retired Italian Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, a former nuncio, 80.

— Italian Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, 86.

— Italian Father Enrico Feroci, 80, former director of Rome’s Caritas.

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