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Pope picks 14 new cardinals to help homeless people
May 21, 2018
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VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic Church, including his chief aide for helping the poor in Rome and prelates based in Iraq and Pakistan, where Christians are a vulnerable minority.

“I am happy to announce that on June 29, I will hold a consistory to make 14 new cardinals,” Francis said in surprise remarks to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the pope’s weekly greetings from a Vatican palace window.

Eleven of the men tapped for the honor would be eligible to cast ballots in the secret conclave that would someday select Francis’ successor, assuming they don’t exceed the voting age limit of 80 by the time a new pope must be elected.

The latest group is the fifth batch of churchmen chosen by Francis to become cardinals since he was a cardinal from Buenos Aires elected pontiff by his peers in 2013.

He has steadily looked to the church’s far-flung reaches as he stresses the worldwide nature of the Catholic flock. With the church’s administrative hierarchy at the Vatican, for centuries Italian prelates had dominated the institution’s offices.

The latest “princes of the church” hail from countries that include Madagascar, Peru, Mexico and Japan, which has a tiny minority of Catholics.

“The countries of provenance express the universality of the church, which continues to announce the merciful love of God to all men on Earth,” Francis said.

Among the new cardinals is Louis Raphael I Sako, 69, who has been the Baghdad-based patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldeans since 2013.

Also to be made cardinal is Joseph Coutts, archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan. The 72-year-old prelate led that country’s bishops’ conference from 2011 through 2017.

Two top Vatican officials also are among the new crop of cardinals.

One, Monsignor Luis Ladaria, 74, a Spanish dogmatic theology professor, heads the Holy See’s powerful office in charge of ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy. Like the pope, Ladaria is a Jesuit.

The other is Italian Monsignor Giovanni Angelo Becciu. He became a top official in the Vatican’s influential secretariat of state office after a long career as a Holy See diplomat in Africa, the United States, New Zealand and Europe.

In 2009, then-pontiff Benedict XVI, appointed him as his ambassador to Cuba.

Another Italian to be made cardinal is a Rome vicar general, Monsignor Angelo De Donatis. The pope, while leader of the entire Roman Catholic church, also serves as Rome’s top bishop.
Francis also chose Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, a good-natured Pole who, on behalf of the pope, has personally distributed sleeping bags to Rome’s homeless on frigid nights and driven poor people to seaside day trips paid for by the Vatican.

Tapping the energetic Krajewski, 54, reflects the pontiff’s determination to have the Catholic Church be known for tireless attention to those on society’s margins.

Associated Press

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