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Pope’s message | New cardinals express the ‘universality of the Church’

On July 9, Pope Francis announced the names of 21 new cardinals who will be elevated at a consistory in September

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named 21 new cardinals, including U.S.-born Archbishop Robert F. Prevost, who took the helm at the Dicastery for Bishops in April, and French Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The pope announced the names after his recitation of the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square July 9. He said he would formally install the cardinals during a special consistory at the Vatican Sept. 30.

The new cardinals represent more than a dozen countries on five continents. Continuing a papal custom, among the new cardinals were three Churchmen — two archbishops and a Capuchin Franciscan priest — over the age of 80, whom Pope Francis said he wanted to honor because they were particularly deserving because of “their service to the Church.”

After the new cardinals are installed in late September, there will be 137 potential voters and the total membership of the College of Cardinals is expected to be 243.

The nomination of Cardinal-designate Prevost brings to 18 the number of U.S. cardinals; after the consistory, the U.S. contingent will include 11 potential papal electors.

The September ceremony will mark the ninth time Pope Francis has created cardinals since his election to the papacy in March 2013. After the ceremony Sept. 30, he will have created a total of 131 new cardinals in that College of Cardinals, which would make up about 54% of the total college and 72% of potential electors.

With the addition of six new cardinals under the age of 60, the average age of cardinal electors will get one year younger, going from today’s average age of 72 years 8 months to 71 years 6 months. Cardinal-designate Alves Aguiar of Lisbon, 49, will be just six months older than the youngest elector, Cardinal Giorgio Marengo of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 49.

Cardinal-designate Prevost, 67, was born in Chicago and had served as bishop of Chiclayo, Peru, for more than eight years before being appointed to lead the Vatican body responsible for recommending to the pope candidates to fill the office of bishop in many of the Latin-rite dioceses of the world. Archbishop Prevost has been a member of the dicastery since November 2020.

Before he read the 21 names, Pope Francis told the estimated 15,000 people in St. Peter’s Square that the diversity of the new cardinals “expresses the universality of the Church, which continues to proclaim God’s merciful love to all people on Earth.”

Editor’s note: Pope Francis is not holding his Wednesday audiences in July. He will hold his general audiences on Wednesdays beginning in August.

The cardinals-designate, in the order they were named:

• U.S.-born Archbishop Robert F. Prevost, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, 67.

• Italian Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches, 67.

• Argentine Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata, Argentina, incoming prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, who turns 61 July 18.

• Swiss Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio to Argentina, 76.

• French Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, 77.

• Italian Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, 58.

• South African Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, 66.

• Argentine Archbishop Ángel Sixto Rossi, SJ, of Córdoba, 64.

• Colombian Archbishop Luis José Rueda Aparicio of Bogotá, 61.

• Polish Archbishop Grzegorz Rys of Lódz, 59.

• South Sudanese Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla of Juba, 59.

• Spanish Archbishop José Cobo Cano of Madrid, 57.

• Tanzanian Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, coadjutor archbishop of Tabora, 63.

• Malaysian Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, Malaysia, 71.

• Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-yan, SJ, of Hong Kong, 63.

• Bishop François-Xavier Bustillo, OFM Conv., of Ajaccio in Corsica, France, 54.

• Portuguese Auxiliary Bishop Américo Alves Aguiar of Lisbon, 49.

• Spain-born Salesian Father Ángel Fernández Artime, rector major of the Salesians, 62.

Those named cardinal and over the age of 80:

• Italian Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, a retired papal nuncio, a former curial official and a respected historian of the Second Vatican Council, 82.

• Retired Archbishop Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez of Cumaná, Venezuela, 84.

• Capuchin Father Luis Pascual Dri, confessor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei, Buenos Aires, 96.

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