News / Europe

    Pope Set to Name Cardinals Who Reflect his Vision

    Pope Francis greets the faithful as he arrives to visit the Church of St Alfonso Maria dei Liguori in the outskirts of Rome Jan. 6, 2014.
    Pope Francis greets the faithful as he arrives to visit the Church of St Alfonso Maria dei Liguori in the outskirts of Rome Jan. 6, 2014.
    Reuters
    Pope Francis is set to make the most important decisions of his young papacy in the next few weeks by naming new cardinals - the “princes of the Church” who will help him set its future course and one day elect his successor from their number.
     
    A pope's choice of cardinals is one of the clearest signals of the direction in which he wants the 1.2 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church to go, and what type of man he wants to succeed him.
     
    Francis immediately set about changing the Vatican's image with his simple style after his election last March, so his choice of clerics to elevate on Feb. 22 is more eagerly awaited than usual.
     
    He is expected to reveal his choices before the end of January so that preparations for the ceremonial “consistory” can be made, but so far there have been few if any whispers of likely names.
     
    In the past, it was a fairly safe bet that archbishops of big dioceses or those heading Vatican departments traditionally headed by cardinals would get the three-peaked “biretta”, the red ceremonial hat that cardinals wear.
     
    But Francis, who renounced the spacious papal suite for a modest apartment in a Vatican guest house, and is driven around in a simple Ford Focus instead of a bulletproof Mercedes limousine, has shown little regard for precedent or tradition.
     
    “He will feel very free to choose the people he thinks should be in those positions, regardless of what was done before,” said Father Antonio Spadaro, the editor of the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica who interviewed the pope last summer.
     
    “Certainly it will help us further understand where he wants the Church to go.”
     
    Bending the rules

    There are currently 14 vacancies in the College of Cardinals for “cardinal electors”: those who would be allowed to enter a conclave to elect a pope.
     
    Church rules in theory limit the number of “cardinal electors” to 120. But Francis can decide to bend or even abolish the rule.
     
    In any case, 10 cardinals who are now electors will turn 80 during 2014, so Francis could appoint as many as 24 new cardinal electors and still have their number back to 120 by the end of the year.
     
    Apart from potentially shifting the liberal-conservative balance of the College, and elevating men whose personal abilities he values, Francis could also alter its geographical distribution.
     
    In the conclave that elected Francis last March, 60 cardinals were from Europe, even though the Church on the continent has been hardest hit by falling membership. Italy alone had 28.
     
    By comparison, there were only 19 cardinals from all of Latin America, a region with the largest Catholic populations, and 11 and 10 respectively from Africa and Asia, where the Church is growing fast.
     
    Francis, previously archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first Latin American pope in history and the first non-European in 1,600 years.
     
    Apart from naming new cardinal electors under 80, Francis is also expected to give the honorific title to a number of elderly churchmen in gratitude for decades of service. They are usually theologians or academics, and would not be eligible to enter a conclave.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora