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Pope expands ranks of cardinals who’ll possible decide successor

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis elevated 20 extra churchmen to the rank of cardinal on Saturday, formally increasing these now eligible to vote for his successor in case he dies or resigns — the latter a step he has stated he’d take into account if the necessity arises.

Of the churchmen being named new cardinals within the consistory ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica, 16 are youthful than 80 and thus eligible to take part in a conclave — the ritual-shrouded, locked-door meeting of cardinals who solid paper ballots to elect a brand new pontiff.

The 85-year-old Francis has now named 83 of the 132 cardinals at present younger sufficient to hitch a conclave. The others had been appointed by the earlier two popes, St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, whose surprising retirement in 2013 paved the way in which for Francis to be elected.

With the eight batches of cardinals Francis has named, prospects are boosted that whoever turns into the subsequent pontiff will share his imaginative and prescient for the way forward for the church.

Francis reminded the cardinals of their mission, which he stated consists of “an openness to all peoples, to the horizons of the world, to the peripheries as but unknown.”

Underlining Francis’ consideration to these on society’s margins, among the many new cardinals is Archbishop Anthony Poola of Hyderabad, India. The prelate, 60, is the primary member of the Dalit neighborhood, thought of the bottom rung of India’s caste system, to grow to be a cardinal.

One after the other, the latest cardinals, whose purple cassocks and headgear symbolizes the blood they have to be ready to shed if vital of their mission, knelt earlier than Francis, who positioned on their head the celebrated biretta, because the three-peaked hat is understood.

That intimate second was an opportunity to change a couple of phrases with Francis, who smiled to place them comfy. At instances, the seated Francis, himself hobbled by mobility issues, lent his personal arms to assist kneeling cardinals rise up.

In selecting San Diego Bishop Robert Walter McElroy, Francis handed over U.S. churchmen main historically extra prestigious dioceses, together with San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

McElroy has been amongst a minority of American bishops who against a marketing campaign to disclaim Communion to Catholic politicians who assist abortion rights. Cordileone has stated he’d no lengthy enable U.S. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi to obtain Communion for her protection of abortion rights.

Whereas staunchly towards abortion as a grave sin, Francis has additionally decried what he calls the weaponization of Communion.

McElroy final 12 months was additionally amongst a small group of U.S. bishops signing a press release denouncing the bullying that’s typically directed at LGBTQ youth.

Francis has tried to make homosexual Catholics really feel welcome within the church, whose educating holds that same-sex intercourse is a sin.

Among the many latest cardinals is Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr from Wa, Ghana, who has spoken out towards LGBTQ rights. The African prelate felt sick when he arrived in Rome on Friday and was hospitalized for a coronary heart drawback, the pope advised the opposite cardinals, asking them to wish “for this brother who ought to have been right here.”

Requested by The Related Press about such contrasting views amongst church leaders, McElroy replied that “there are at all times cultural variations inside the lifetime of the church as there’s inside within the human household. And totally different cultures strategy these questions in numerous methods.”

McElroy added: “My very own view is that we have now an obligation within the church to make the LGBT individuals really feel equally welcome within the lifetime of the church, as everybody else.”

With electing future pontiffs a key position for cardinals, McElroy, 68, was requested what he considered Francis’ saying that resignation for popes is a sound choice.

“In precept, I believe it’s a good suggestion at a specific second once they really feel they will now not carry the burdens of that workplace, however I believe this pope is way from that second,” the U.S. prelate stated. “I consider he sees himself as removed from that second. What he has is a mobility problem, but it surely has not affected his thoughts. I can inform you he’s nonetheless up to the mark.”

Archbishop Ulrich Steiner of Manaus, Brazil, turned the primary cardinal from the Amazon, the huge, environmentally-vulnerable area in South America on the Argentine-born pontiff’s residence continent. In remarks to The AP, Steiner expressed concern about growing violence within the Amazon.

“However this violence was not born there, it got here from exterior,” Steiner, 71, stated. ”It’s at all times violence associated to cash. Concessions, deforestation, additionally with the mines, additionally with the fishing.”

At 48, the youngest member among the many cardinals’ ranks is an Italian missionary in Mongolia, the place Catholics quantity some 1,300. Francis “is aware of how vital it’s supporting these little communities,” stated the brand new cardinal, Giorgio Marengo.

Initially, the pope had picked 21 new cardinals. However retired Belgian Bishop Luc Van Looy declined the glory, citing his personal insufficient dealing with of instances of sexually abusive monks whereas he led the Ghent diocese from 2004-2020.

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Sabrina Sergi and Fanuel Morelli contributed to this report.

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