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Pope Francis names 15 new cardinal electors

By Sarah Mac Donald - 05 January, 2015

Pope Francis named 15 new cardinal electors from 14 nations across five continents on Sunday after his weekly Angelus address.

The fifteen will be elevated in a consistory on 14 February the Pontiff confirmed.

In addition, the Pope also announced that five retired archbishops and bishops “distinguished for their pastoral charity in the service of the Holy See and of the Church” would also be made cardinals although as these are over 80 years they will play no role in a future conclave.

In his address on Sunday, Pope Francis said, “On Sunday 15 February I will preside at a solemn con-celebration with the new cardinals, while on 12-13 February I will hold a consistory with all the Cardinals to reflect on the orientations and proposals for the reform of the Roman Curia.”

The new Cardinals are:

– Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

– Archbishiop Manuel José Macario do Nascimento Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon (Portugal)

– Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, CM, of Addis Abeba (Ethiopia)

– Archbishop John Atcherley Dew of Wellington (New Zealand)

– Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo (Italy)

– Archbishop Pierre Nguyên Văn Nhon of Hà Nôi (Viêtnam)

– Archbishop Alberto Suàrez Inda of Morelia (Mexico)

– Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., of Yangon (Myanmar)

– Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok (Thailand)

– Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento (Italy)

– Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, SDB, of Montevideo (Uruguay)

– Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez of Vallodolid (Spain)

– Bishop José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, OAR, of David (Panamá)

– Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, of Santiago de Cabo Verde (Archipelago of Cape Verde)

– Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga (Island of Tonga)

In addition, the following five archbishops and bishops emeriti will be joined to the members of the College of Cardinals:

– José de Jesús Pimiento Rodriguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales

– Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Major Pro-Penitentiary Emeritus

– Archbishop Karl-Joseph Rauber, Apostolic Nuncio

– Luis Héctor Villaba, Archbishop Emeritus of Tucumán

– Júlio Duarte Langa, Bishop Emeritus of Xai-Xai

The Pope said this second group of five new cardinals 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 Rome Curia, and in the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See.

“Let us pray for the new Cardinals, that renewed in their love for Christ, 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,” the Pope told the assembled crowds in St Peter’s Square.

According to Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, head of the Holy See Press Office, this new batch of cardinal electors means the golden figure of 120 electors has been slightly exceeded.

He said the most evident criteria for those chosen is that of universality. Fourteen different countries are represented, including some that do not currently have a cardinal, and some that have never had one.

If the retired archbishops and bishops are counted, eighteen countries are represented.

There are no new Cardinals from North America (the USA or Canada) because they already have a significant number, and that number has remained stable during the past year. However, there is a new Mexican cardinal.

The presence of countries that have never had a cardinal, namely Capo Verde, Tonga and Myanmar is noteworthy, he said.

Fr Lombardi said these countries have ecclesial communities that are small or that represent a minority within their country.

The Bishop of Tonga is the President of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific; the Diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde is one of the most ancient African Dioceses; the Diocese of Morelia in Mexico is in a region troubled by violence.

The fact that only one of the new cardinals is from the Roman Curia is also notable, while “Roman” cardinals remain about a quarter of the electors.

It is evident that the Pope intends to consider the posts of Prefects of the Congregations and of some other very important institutions within the Curia – as, in this case, the Tribunal of the Signatura – as Cardinalatial posts.

The new nominations confirm that the Pope is not bound to the traditions of the “Cardinalatial Sees” – which were motivated by historical reasons in different countries – in which the Cardinalate was considered almost “automatically” connected to such sees.

“Instead, we have several nominations of archbishops and bishops of sees that in the past have not had a cardinal. This applies, for example, to Italy, Spain, Mexico, Panama,” he explained.

With regard to the retired nominees, the words of the Pope in his brief introduction should be noted: “They represent so many bishops who, with the same pastoral solicitude” have served as pastors of dioceses, but also in the Curia and in the diplomatic service. The cardinalatial nominations are intended, then, as a recognition given symbolically to some, but recognizing the merits of all.

The youngest of the new cardinals is Archbishop Tafi of Tonga, who was born in 1961 while the oldest is Archbishop Pimiento Rodriguez, Archbishop emeritus of Manizales, who was born in 1919.

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