Agencies in Vatican City, in the Guardian, UK, Sunday 9 October 2016
New cardinals also include archbishops of Chicago and Indianapolis in move sending signal pope ‘values pastors focused more on mercy than morals’
Pope Francis with two cardinals in St Peter’s Square. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
The papal envoy to Syria has been named as one of a group of new cardinals announced on Sunday by Pope Francis, including 13 who are eligible to succeed him.
(Note: Known as “Princes of the Church” or “Red Hats”, Cardinals under 80 are the ones who elect a new Pope. May be it is high time to give up that Constantinean Royal title for a more self-emptying oneS like “Servant of Servants” so dear to Francis. Besides calling himself a sinner he places himself one step below the laity to rightly deserve the title: Servant of servants. Then what title would you readers of CCV propose for Cardinals today?
Cardinals, known as the “princes of the church”, who are under 80 are eligible to vote in the papal conclave that picks the next pope or become pope themselves.
Heading up the list of new cardinals is Italian archbishop Mario Zenari, who Francis said would remain in his post to show the church’s concern for “beloved and martyred Syria”. Second on the list was Dieudonne Nzapalainga, the archbishop of Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, who is the youngest of the 13 new cardinals aged just 49.
And in a rare move, 87-year-old Albanian Ernest Simoni has been elevated to the position of cardinal from parish priest. He was imprisoned by Albania’s communist regime in 1963 and sentenced to death, although that was later commuted to 25 years forced labour, according to a Vatican profile. He spent a total of 18 years imprisoned.
Three of the 13 who will have conclave voting rights are from Europe, three from Latin America, three from the US and two each from Africa and Asia.
Among the other senior church leaders from developing countries being promoted to cardinal are Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of Brasilia, Patrick D’Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka, Baltazar Porras Cardozo, archbishop of Mérida in Venezuela and Maurice Piat, the bishop of Port-Louis in Mauritius.
Three are American moderates, including Chicago archbishop Blase Cupich and Indianapolis archbishop Joseph Tobin in a clear signal to the conservative US Catholic hierarchy that Francis values pastors focused more on mercy than morals.
Tobin’s nomination also carries a political message ahead of the US election, given that he openly opposed a request from Indiana governor Mike Pence, now Donald Trump’s running mate, to not settle Syrian refugees in the state.