Pope Francis appoints 21 cardinals

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In front of numerous church dignitaries and the faithful, a solemn Mass for creating 21 new cardinals occurred in Rome on Saturday. Eighteen of them are allowed to participate in a papal election because they have not yet reached the age of 80. During the ceremony, the pope presented the new cardinals with their decree of appointment and the red biretta as headgear.

After this round, more than two-thirds of the cardinals eligible to participate in a conclave will have been appointed by Pope Francis. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, is among the new cardinals. The new Dicastery of the Faith prefect, Argentine Víctor Manuel Fernández, was also accepted into the College of Cardinals by his compatriot Francis. Also among the new cardinals is Emil Paul Tscherrig of Switzerland.

In his homily, the pope referred to the image of an orchestra. “The College of Cardinals is called to resemble a symphony orchestra that represents the harmony of the Church,” Francis said.

The consistory occurred just before the Synod of Bishops’ plenary assembly on synodality, which begins Wednesday at the Vatican. On that day, cardinals old and new will gather with the pope and all other members of the starting, nearly month-long synodal assembly for a solemn Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Pope John Paul II convened the largest consistory in church history in 2001, appointing more than 40 new cardinals at the same time. In doing so, he surpassed Paul VI’s 1968 limit of 120 electors – at one point, John Paul had 135 purple bearers under the age of 80. Canon law allows cardinals to meet in two ways: as an ordinary consistory attended only by cardinals residing in Rome or as an extraordinary consistory attended by all cardinals of the Church.

The four-week synodal assembly is about finding new ways of deliberating and making decisions throughout the Catholic Church. Sessions, speeches and prayers are planned.

  • source: APA/picture: vaticannews.va
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