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Pope names 5 new cardinals

May 22, 2017

At the conclusion of his May 21 Regina Coeli address, Pope Francis announced that he will create five new cardinals in a June 28 consistory.

The five prelates are

  • Archbishop Jean Zerbo, 73, of Bamako, Mali
  • Archbishop Juan José Omella Omella, 71, of Barcelona
  • Bishop Anders Arborelius, OCD, 67, of Stockholm
  • Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, IVD, 73, apostolic vicar of Paksé, Laos
  • Auxiliary Bishop José Gregorio Rosa Chávez, 74, of San Salvador, El Salvador

Of the five, only one—Archbishop Omella—comes from a see that has a recent tradition of governance by cardinal archbishops. Also, four of the five come from countries that have never before boasted a member of the College of Cardinals; again Archbishop Omella is the exception.

In choosing Bishop Rosa Chavez to receive red hat, the Pope made another unconventional move, selecting an auxiliary bishop rather than the leader of the archdiocese, Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas. Bishop Rosa Chavez was close to the Blessed Oscar Romero, a former Archbishop of San Salvador, who was killed in 1980.

Three of the prelates named to be cardinals—Archbishop Zerbo, Arborelius, and Mangkhanedkhoun—come from countries where Catholics form a very small minority of the population. Mali is overwhelmingly Muslim. Sweden’s religious landscape is dominated by Lutheranism, although most Swedes now describe themselves as having no religious faith, while Islam is a growing force in the country. Laos has a Buddhist majority, with many people adhering to local folk religions, and less than 1% of the population Catholic.

The creation of the five cardinals will increase the membership in the College of Cardinals to 227, of whom 121 will be eligible to vote in a papal election.

“Let us commend the new cardinals to the protection of Saints Peter and Paul,” the Pope said to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, “so that by the intercession of the Prince of the Apostles, they may be genuine servants of ecclesial communion, and by that of the Apostle to the Gentiles, may be joyful heralds of the Gospel throughout the world and, with their testimony and their counsel, they may support me more intensely in my service as Bishop of Rome, universal Pastor of the Church.”

 
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