Vatican Corner 06-24-18

On June 29, 2018, Pope Francis will create 14 new cardinals and as before, they come from all over the world, including, this time, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, and Poland. Every year, Francis has been selecting new cardinals and many have come from the outskirts and from the often overlooked dioceses, and sometimes from where Catholics are a small minority. According to Francis the places of origin of the new cardinals shows the “ universality of the Church, that continues to preach the merciful love of God throughout the earth. ” Eleven of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and will therefore be eligible to vote for a new pope when the time comes. Francis created three new cardinals that are above the age of 80 to honor them for their service to the Church. One new cardinal will be Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities, who is Francis ’ s chief aid for helping Rome ’ s homeless and poor. When the new cardinals are inducted the total number of cardinals will be 227 and of them 125 will be under the age of 80. Pope Francis ’ selection process has broken with tradition, and some dioceses that normally have cardinals no longer do. He is building a genuinely global church where ecclesiastical power is not concentrated so much in Europe. Cardinals elect the pope, but that is a job they rarely perform. Their primary duty is to serve as advisors and assistants to the pope. Whatever else a cardinal may be doing, like heading a diocese or leading a Vatican congregation, he can always be called by the pope to do something else that is needed. The Code of Canon Law required that to be eligible to be a cardinal, an appointee must be a priest, and if he is not a bishop, then he must be consecrated a bishop, however the pope can make exceptions. Pope John Paul II made an exception in 2001, making Jesuit theologian Avery Dulles a cardinal. Some theologians have argued that the College of Cardinals should contain laypeople of both sexes. Popes through their selections or their withholding of appointments send important signals about their values and hopes for the Church. Pope Francis is trying to ensure that those who elect his successor are humble, spiritual men, committed to “ a church of the poor and for the poor, ” a church that is “ a field hospital ” and puts mercy at the heart of its mission. He wants a missionary church ” that reaches out to the peripheries of the world, a church devoid of clericalism, and involves the whole people of God. In an interview last year, Pope Francis said he hoped that by the end of his pontificate “ the college of cardinals would be truly catholic. ” As of now, Pope Francis has selected 47 percent of the voter – cardinals, just shy of a majority. With a few more years, Pope Francis may be able to guarantee that his legacy is not lost.

Sources: cruxnow.com, uscatholic.org, nytimes.com, americamazine.org, politico.eu