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Two Asians among new cardinals

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis named 17 new cardinals at his public angelus address at midday on October 10, including two from Asia.

However, only one is of an age entitling him to vote at a conclave that elects a new pope, Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario, from Dhaka in Bangladesh. The other is the 84-year-old former archbishop of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez.

Of the 17 named, only 13 are under the magical age of 80 that entitles them to participate in a conclave. Three of the 13 are from the United States of America (US), but significantly two archdioceses that are usually headed by a cardinal, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, missed out on the cut.

Archbishop Kevin Farrell was born in Ireland, but was the bishop of Dallas, Texas, prior to being appointed the head of the new Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life Issues.

The same pattern is being seen in Italy, with Turin, Venice and Bologna all being overlooked.

However, significantly, Pope Francis has turned his attention to the suffering Church of martyrs in Syria, naming Italian Archbishop Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio to what Pope Francis called “the beloved and martyred Syria.” He will remain at his current diplomatic post where he has been for the past eight years.

Other bishops still of eligible age on the list come from the Central African Republic, Spain, Brazil, Venezuela, Belgium, Mauritius, Mexico, Italy, US and Papua New Guinea.

There is one priest on the list, 87-year-old Father Ernest Simoni, from the presbytery of the Archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult, Scutari in Albania. He is 87.

Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the head of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, said, “The choices reflect the mind and heart of the Holy Father, his loving concern for these countries, his desire to show his gratitude, encourage and strengthen the Churches and nations.”

Edward Pentin wrote in the National Catholic Register, “Pope Francis has chosen prelates (bishops) whose views are closer to his and in particular those who have been publicly and clearly supportive of his interpretation of his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).”

He adds that it is clear that the pope’s preference has been for bishops from the Church in the southern hemisphere.

The only active Asian bishop to be promised the red hat, Archbishop D’Rosario, called his appointment a gift for all the people of Bangladesh and the whole nation. He is the troubled nation’s first ever cardinal and one priest described it as an answer to prayer.

Cardinal-designate Soter Ferdinandez is the first cardinal from Malaysia.

The consistory will be held in Rome on November 19, the eve of the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy.

The 17 cardinals-designate are: 

Archbishop Mario Zenari—nuncio Syria

Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga—Central African Republic

Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra–Spain

Archbishop Sérgio da Rocha—Brazil

Archbishop Blase Cupich—US

Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario—Bangladesh

Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo—Venezuela

Archbishop Jozef De Kesel—Belgium

Archbishop Maurice Piat—Mauritius

Archbishop Kevin Joseph Farrell—Vatican

Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes—Mexico

Archbishop John Ribat—Papua New Guinea

Archbishop Joseph William Tobin—US

Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez—Malaysia (R)

Archbishop Renato Corti—Italy (R)

Archbishop Sebastian Koto Khoarai—Lesotho (R)

Father Ernest Simoni—Albania (R)


(R) Over 80-years-old

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