VATICAN CITY – On Saturday, Pope Francis made 21 clergymen from different parts of the world, including Tanzania, South Sudan, and South Africa, cardinals. He said that diversity is crucial for the Catholic Church’s future.
The ceremony, called a consistory, took place at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Under sunny skies, a large crowd gathered to witness the event, which was held outdoors. Pope Francis, 86 years old, welcomed the new cardinals, who are often referred to as the “Princes of the Church.” One of them might one day become the next pope.
Pope Francis emphasized the importance of diversity, comparing the College of Cardinals to a symphony orchestra. He said that diversity is necessary but that each cardinal should work together for the common purpose of the Church.
The selection of these new cardinals is significant because it reflects the Church’s priorities and direction. One of them could potentially become the next pope if elected by his fellow cardinals.
During the ceremony, each cardinal knelt before the pope, who gave them a cardinal’s ring and a scarlet four-cornered cap known as a biretta. Pope Francis offered words of encouragement to some of them.
Eighteen of the 21 new cardinals are under the age of 80, which makes them eligible to vote in the next conclave, where the next pope will be chosen. This indicates that the future pope may share Pope Francis’s focus on tolerance, care for the poor, and marginalized groups.
Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has aimed to create a more inclusive and global Church, looking beyond Europe to involve clergy from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The new cardinals come from different regions, including South America, Asia, and Africa. They bring various experiences and backgrounds to the Church, reflecting its universal nature.
Some of the new cardinals have experience in diplomatic roles and sensitive areas worldwide. They include the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, and top administrators in the Holy See’s government.
After the ceremony, the new cardinals were congratulated by the public at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.