Pope Francis’ new cardinals shed light on church’s minorities

In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis announced the names of the 15 bishops to be created cardinals in February, many of whom hail from small dioceses which have never before had a cardinal.
“As was already announced, next February 14 I will have the joy of holding a Consistory, during which I will name 15 new Cardinals who manifest the indissoluble links between the Church of Rome and the particular Churches present in the world,” the Roman pontiff said on Jan. 4.
Speaking to the thousands of pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square after his recitation of the traditional Marian prayer, the Pope revealed that the 15 new cardinals to be created come from 14 countries and from every continent.
Announced in the fall, the consistory will take place on Feb. 14. Pope Francis has also called a Feb. 12-13 meeting with the entire college of cardinals ahead of the consistory to reflect on current proposals for the ongoing reformation of the Roman Curia.
The day following the consistory the Bishop of Rome and the 15 new cardinals will concelebrate a solemn Mass together in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Among the new cardinals under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in the next conclave are five European bishops, three from the continent of Asia, three from Latin America, including Mexico, two from Africa and two from Oceania.
Cape Verde, Myanmar and Tonga are three of the countries represented by the new cardinals. Characterized by small ecclesial communities or as representing a minority presence, none of the dioceses has had a cardinal until now.
In a Jan. 4 statement to journalists regarding the announcement of the new cardinals, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi drew attention to the fact that Pope Francis selected bishops from these, as well as other small, minority populations, rather than larger dioceses which traditionally have a cardinal.
Calling the move “noteworthy,” the spokesman pointed out that the Roman Pontiff’s selections represent the universality of the Catholic Church, and are not bound to the traditional appointment of cardinals from “Cardinalatial Sees,” in which for “historical reasons…the Cardinalate was considered almost ‘automatically’ connected to such sees.”
The appointment of a cardinal from the diocese of Morelia, Mexico, was also recognized by the spokesman, who noted how the diocese is currently enmeshed in a state of ongoing violence.
The names of the new cardinals coming from Europe are: Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo (Italy); Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento (Italy); Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez of Vallodolid (Spain) and Archbishiop Manuel José Macario do Nascimento Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon (Portugal).
New cardinals representing Latin America and Mexico are: Archbishop Alberto Suàrez Inda of Morelia (Mexico); Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, SDB, of Montevideo (Uruguay) and Bishop José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, OAR, of David (Panamá).
Others, including from Africa and Asia, are: Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, CM, of Addis Abeba (Ethiopia); Archbishop Pierre Nguyên Van Nhon of Hà Nôi (Viêt Nam); Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, SDB, of Yangon (Myanmar); Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok (Thailand); Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, of Santiago de Cabo Verde (Archipelago of Cape Verde); Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga (Island of Tonga) and Archbishop John Atcherley Dew of Wellington (New Zealand).
In addition to the 15 cardinal electors, Pope Francis named 5 other bishops over the age of 80 who will be elevated due to their “pastoral charity in the service of the Holy See and of the Church.”
The names of the new non-elector cardinals are: José de Jesús Pimiento Rodriguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales (Colombia); Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Major Pro-Penitentiary Emeritus (Italy); Archbishop Karl-Joseph Rauber, Apostolic Nuncio (Germany); Luis Héctor Villaba, Archbishop Emeritus of Tucumán (Argentina) and Júlio Duarte Langa, Bishop Emeritus of Xai-Xai (Mozambique).
“They represent so many bishops who, with the same pastoral solicitude, have given witness of love for Christ and for the people of God in particular Churches, in the Roman Curia, and in the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See,” the pope said.
He encouraged those present in St. Peter’s Square to pray for all of the newly appointed cardinals, asking that “they might be witnesses of His Gospel in the City of Rome and in the world, and with their pastoral experience they might support me more intensely in my apostolic service.”
In his address ahead of the traditional Angelus prayer, the Roman pontiff drew attention to the World Day of Peace, which was celebrated on Jan. 1 and reflected on the theme of “No longer slaves, but brothers.”
The exploitation of the human person due to trafficking and slavery is a “social scourge” that disrupts interpersonal relationships and prevents the ability to live in a community founded on respect, justice and charity, he said.
“Every man and every people hunger and thirst for peace, therefore it is necessary and urgent to build peace!” the Pope explained, and encouraged pilgrims present to work for peace not only by ending wars, but also within their own families and local communities.
He concluded by asking for the intercession of Mary, who despite the difficulties she faced in her life, “never lost her peace of heart, (which was) a fruit of trusting abandonment to God’s mercy.”

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