Pope Francis names five new cardinals, all from outside Italy and the Vatican | News | DW | 21.05.2017
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Pope Francis names five new cardinals, all from outside Italy and the Vatican

Pope Francis announced plans to create five new cardinals from five different countries at a special ceremony on June 28. The elevation of the five clergymen came as a surprise announcement.

The new cardinals - from El Salvador, Laos, Mali, Spain and Sweden - will form part of the elite group within the church that is charged with electing the pope.

"On Wednesday, June 28, I will hold a consistory to appoint five new cardinals. Their provenance from different parts of the world expresses the spread of Catholicism across the globe," Francis told crowds in St Peter's Square Sunday.

The new cardinals were named as 73-year-old Archbishop Jean Sevo from Mali, 71-year-old Archbishop Juan Jose Omella from Spain, 67-year-old Bishop Anders Arborelius from Sweden, 73-year-old Vicar Apostolic Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun from Laos, and 74-year-old Auxiliary Archbishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez from El Salvador.

Senior position in the church

Known as the "princes" of the Catholic Church, the main purpose of cardinals is to elect popes or to be elected pope.

The five appointees were all born in the 1940s, fulfilling a key age requirement to qualify for voting for the next pontiff. Cardinals over the age of 80 are not able to take part in the conclaves that elect new popes. Francis had already named 17 new cardinals last year, in a bid to bring more diversity to the most senior ranks of the church.

ss/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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