Pope makes 20 clergymen cardinals
In a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica Pope Francis on Saturday 20 clergymen from four continents were made cardinals of the Catholic Church. 16 of them are younger than 80 years and could currently take part in a papal election. It was the eighth time Francis had refreshed the ranks of the highest dignitaries since his election.
The College of Cardinals now consists of 226 men; 132 of them are entitled to the papal election. 83 of the electors are appointed by Francis (62.6 percent), 38 by Benedict XVI (2005-2013) and 11 more by John Paul II (1978-2005). A two-thirds majority is required for a valid papal election; that would currently be 88 votes.
One of the 20 candidates elected cardinal by the Pope, Richard Kuuia Baawobr (63) from Ghana, came to Rome but was unable to attend the ceremony in the Vatican due to acute health problems. The pope ordered that the cardinal’s insignia be brought to him by messenger.
No new German cardinal
This time six cardinal birettas go to Asia, three to Latin America; West Africa is considered twice. A curiosity: Ireland, which was originally Catholic but has been badly hit by abuse scandals, has had no voting rights in the conclave since 2019; Germany has stagnated at three since 2014. In the future 27 papal electors belong to a religious order or a spiritual community; i.e. more than one in five. A comparatively high level.
In his homily, the Pope recalled that, in addition to the great “missionary fire” to which the cardinals are committed in following Christ, there is also “the constant ember” that burns in the midst of the People of God. She is kept alive, for example, by spouses in their families or by old people.
A cardinal should always take both the big and the small important: “A cardinal loves the Church, always with the same spiritual fire, whether he is concerned with big or small issues, whether he is meeting the great of this world or the little ones who… are great before God,” said the Pope. He named Cardinals Agostino Casaroli (1914-1998) and Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan (1928-2002) as role models.