“ Your appointments are not promotion” – Pope Francis
Pope Francis appointed 19 new cardinals of the Catholic church on Sunday January 12 but none from Nigeria. However, two of the Cardinals are from Africa-Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.
Since he was chosen in March last year to lead the Catholic church, Francis has made significant changes at the Vatican, rejecting the luxury vehicles of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, and opting to live in a guest house rather than the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace.
Sixteen of the newly appointed Cardinals are “cardinal electors” under 80 and thus eligible to enter a conclave to elect a pope.
Half of them are non-Europeans, indicating the importance Francis attaches to the developing world. Francis is the first Latin American pope and the first non-European pontiff in some 1,300 years.
Cardinals are the pope’s closest advisers in the Vatican and around the world. Apart from being church leaders in their home countries, those who are not based in the Vatican are members of key committees in Rome that decide policies that can affect the lives of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
The pope, who made the announcement to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday blessing, has said often since his election on March 13 that he wants a church that “is poor and for the poor.”
Only four of the cardinal electors are Vatican officials, chief among them Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin, 58, Francis’s new secretary of state, and Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, 66, the German head of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation.
The most prominent European elector from outside Italy is Archbishop Vincent Nichols, 68, the Archbishop of Westminster in London and the main link between Catholicism and the Anglican Church.
The three who are 80 or over will assume the title cardinal emeritus as a sign of gratitude for their work for the Catholic Church and will not be able to enter a conclave. They come from Spain, Italy and the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia.
They include Archbishop Loris Capovilla, 98, who was secretary to Pope John XXIII, the pope who called the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council.
The ceremony to elevate the new cardinals, known as a consistory, will be held on February 22, the pope said.
Church law puts a limit of 120 on the number of cardinal electors. After the consistory, there will be 122 for a few months until two prelates turn 80.
Sixty-one of the 122 will be from Europe. But Asia and Africa will each have two more cardinal electors than they did in the conclave that elected Francis last March.
Meanwhile, the Pope said on Tuesday that he had written to the 19 Cardinal designates to tell them that the appointments are neither “a promotion… an honour nor a decoration.”
“Therefore, I ask you, please, to receive this designation with a simple and humble heart,” adding that “while you must do so with pleasure and joy, ensure that the sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness or from any form of celebration contrary to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.”
The full list of the newly named cardinals:
1. Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Italian, Vatican Secretary of State.
2. Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Italian, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
3. Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, German, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
4. Archbishop, Beniamino Stella, Italian, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.
5. Archbishop Vincent Nichols, British, Archbishop of Westminster.
6. Archbishop Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Nicaraguan, Archbishop of Managua.
7. Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Canadian, Archbishop of Quebec.
8. Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Ivorian, Archbishop of Abidjan
9. Archbishop Orani João Tempesta, Brazilian, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro.
10. Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti, Italian, Archbishop of Perugia.
11. Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli, Argentine, Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
12. Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo Jung, Korean, Archbishop of Seoul.
13. Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Chilean, Archbishop of Santiago.
14. Archbishop Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, from Burkina Faso, Archbishop of Ouagadougou
15. Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, Filipino, Archbishop of Cotabato.
16. Archbishop Chibly Langlois, Haitian, Archbishop of Les Cayes.
The following will be cardinal emeritus, without voting rights:
1. Monsignor Loris Francesco Capovilla, Italian, who was secretary to Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958-1963 and called the Second Vatican Council.
2. Archbishop Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, Spanish, Archbishop emeritus of Pamplona.
3. Monsignor Kelvin Edward Felix, from Saint Lucia, Archbishop emeritus of Castries.