Pope Francis names 21 new cardinals

Pope Francis has announced the appointment of 21 new cardinals from various locations around the world, including Jerusalem and Hong Kong, reinforcing the diversity and global outlook of the Catholic Church.

Who they are: The group of newly appointed cardinals includes key figures handling critical regions for the Church, such as Bishop Stephen Sau-yan Chow of Hong Kong and Monsignor Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
* Also included is Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández from La Plata, Argentina, who is to lead the Holy See’s office for ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy.
* Three of the new cardinals serve in Africa, a continent where the Catholic Church has seen growth – Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa; Archbishop Protase Rugambwa of Tabora, Tanzania; and Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla of Juba, South Sudan.

Why it matters: Cardinals advise the Pope and carry the crucial responsibility of electing his successor. Pope Francis’ appointments thus influence the future direction of the Catholic Church.
* With these appointments, Pope Francis has named the majority of those eligible to elect the next Pope, crafting a body of electors supportive of his vision and priorities.

Controversies: Not all appointments were met positively. Some concerns were raised over the selection of the Argentine Archbishop Fernández, accused of not taking adequate action against allegations of sexual abuse in his archdiocese.

By the numbers: With this new batch, the total number of cardinals eligible to vote for the next pontiff stands at 137.
* This is the ninth set of new cardinals named by Pope Francis in his 10-year papacy.
* Among the 21 new cardinals, three are aged 80 or older and not eligible to vote in a conclave.

View original article on NPR

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