June 4, 2023

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis held a solemn ceremony to appoint a new cardinal Saturday, preparing to formally expand the clergy who are now eligible to vote for a successor in case he dies or resigns — after This is what he calls a step. d Consider whether it is necessary.

Of the 20 priests who were elevated to the rank of cardinal at St. Peter’s Basilica, 16 were under the age of 80 and thus qualified for the conclave – a ritual-shrouded, locked-door assembly of cardinals, They cast paper ballots to elect a new pope.

So far, Francis, 85, has nominated more than half of the elected cardinals. This enhances the prospect that whoever becomes the next pope will share his vision for the future of the Church.

In choosing Bishop Robert Walter McElroy of San Diego, Francis ignored the American priests who lead traditionally more prestigious dioceses, including San Francisco Archbishop Salvador Cordione.

McElroy is one of the few U.S. bishops who has questioned why the U.S. Conference of Bishops insists on making abortion its “first” priority. Echoing the pope’s concerns, he questioned why poverty, immigration and climate change have not been given greater importance.

He is also one of a handful of U.S. bishops who have opposed the denial of communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. Cordileone has said he will no longer allow U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive communion for defending abortion rights.

Francis is adamant that abortion is a serious crime, but he also condemns what he calls the weaponization of communion.

Last year, McElroy was one of a small group of U.S. bishops who signed a statement expressing support for LGBTQ youth and condemning the bullying that is often targeted against them.

Francis is trying to make gay Catholics feel welcome in the church, with the teaching that same-sex intercourse is a sin.

The newest cardinal to be elected is Bishop Richard Kuya Bawopur from Ganawa. He has spoken out against LGBTQ rights.

When asked by The Associated Press about this contrasting view, McElroy replied: “There are always cultural differences in church life, as in human families. Different cultures deal with these issues in different ways. .”

McElroy added: “My own view is that we in the church have an obligation to make LGBT people feel as welcome in church life as everyone else. That’s our mission, so we have to find a way to do that. “

Archbishop Ulrich Steiner of Manaus, Brazil, has been named the first cardinal from the Amazon, the home of the Argentine-born pope, a vast and environmentally fragile region of South America. In comments to The Associated Press, Steiner expressed concern about growing violence in the Amazon — “not just the environment, but the drugs.”

“But the violence wasn’t born there, it came from outside,” Steiner said. “It’s always about money-related violence. Concessions, deforestation, and mines, and fishing.”

More and more cardinals are from Asia and Africa, and fewer are from Europe, where the number of ordinary Catholics has declined in recent years. Those from Europe will make up 42 percent of the College of Cardinals when the bishops’ conference ends, compared with 52 percent when Francis began serving as pope in 2013.

The youngest member of the 48-year-old cardinal team is an Italian missionary in Mongolia. Archbishop Giorgio Marengo, as the apostolic governor of Ulaanbaatar, boldly believes that the small size of his flock – the number of Catholics in that Asian country is about 1,300 – that the pope chose him the elements of. Francis “knows how important it is to support these small communities.”


Sabrina Sergi and Fanuel Morelli contributed to this report.

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