Filed Under:  U.S. & World

Pope Francis Names 20 New Cardinals

Contributed by on January 4, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Pope Francis Blessing

Pope Francis Blesses Faithful in Vatican City (November 13, 2013)

At the Vatican on Sunday morning Pope Francis announced the names of the 20 prelates who will be elevated to cardinals on February 14. The Pope, know for his mission to reform the church, continued to break with tradition when he selected the new cardinals.


Traditionally, pontiffs have selected new cardinals from major cities in Italy, other European nations, and the United States. This cadre of new cardinals, however, demonstrates Pope Francis’s work to diversify the church hierarchy. Three of the soon-to-be cardinals are from nations which have never before had a cardinal: Cape Verde Islands, Tonga, and Myanmar.


Francis has also broken with tradition by enlarging the number of electors within the College of Cardinals from 120 to 125. Electors, the cardinals who are under age 80, make-up the conclave which will vote to determine who becomes the pope after Francis’s death.


In addition to selecting prelates who reflect the diversity of the Catholic church, Pope Francis appointed a number of cardinals who have actively supported the Pope’s agenda. Cardinal-elect John Atcherley Dew, of Wellington, New Zealand, has applauded the Pope’s controversial stands on gay marriage and divorced Catholics. Cardinal-elect Alberto Suarez has mediated political conflicts & conflicts from his post in Morelia, Mexico, the center of some of the worst politically-driven violence and crime in the nation.


Italy, home to 48 current cardinals, will remain the nation with the most cardinals and will add three more in February. The United States ranks second, with 18 cardinals. As of February 14, Brazil, Spain, and Germany will all have 11. Aside from Brazil, the Latin American nations of Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay, will each gain a cardinal in February. Three African nations will gain one cardinal each, as will three southeast Asian countries.