Tags: Pope Francis | Pope Francis | cardinals | college of cardinals | choices

Pope Francis Shakes Up College of Cardinals With Choices

Friday, 09 Jan 2015 01:42 PM

Pope Francis has shaken up the unwritten rules of the College of Cardinals by naming nine new cardinals from surprise dioceses, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

The "revolutionary" pontiff has stunned Italian bishops by passing over Turin again this year and appointing future "red hats" from Italian sees that have not had cardinals since the 19th century.

Last year an archbishop was promoted in Perugia while this year the head of the Anacona and Agrigento dioceses were named as cardinals, the NCR noted.

"In the past, the rules were clear: make friends in the Roman Curia and get appointed to a cardinalatial see or a high position in the Vatican, where a red hat normally comes with the job," wrote NCR’s Thomas Reese. "Pope Francis has thrown a monkey wrench into that clerical system.

"Prior to Francis, there were certain major archdioceses that would expect their archbishops to be made cardinals because their predecessors had been cardinals. Francis has shattered the tradition of cardinalatial sees, not simply made a couple of exceptions to it."

Francis has also flouted the "rules" outside Italy, while making cardinals out of archbishops in dioceses that have never had the honor of a cardinal before.

Last year Les Cayes in Haiti and Cotabato in the Philippines were given cardinals, and this year it was the dioceses of David in Panama, as well as Tonga, Myanmar, and the islands of Cape Verde, NCR said.

"If three year ago anyone predicted that these nine dioceses would get red hats, all the Vatican experts would have said the forecaster was crazy," Reese wrote.

Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi admitted that the pontiff had made some changes to the old cardinal-appointing customs.

"The new nominations confirm that the pope is not bound to the traditions of the cardinalatial sees which were motivated by historical reasons in different countries in which the cardinalate was considered almost automatically connected to such sees," Lombardi said.

There are 208 cardinals in the college, but at 80 a cardinal is no longer allowed to vote in a conclave, which leaves 112 cardinals currently under that age, according to Religion News Service. The U.S. contingent was not increased from the 11 it had at the conclave, NVCR reported.

Reese added, "What is revolutionary is [the pope] downplaying of cardinalatial sees. This can be seen as an attack on careerism in the church: seeking a cardinalatial see will no longer guarantee a red hat.

"Ignoring cardinalatial sees also greatly strengthens the power of the pope because he can ignore the appointees of his predecessor. The pope will be able to reshape the college in his own image much faster than in the past."

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Pope Francis has shaken up the unwritten rules of the College of Cardinals by naming nine new cardinals from surprise dioceses, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
Pope Francis, cardinals, college of cardinals, choices
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2015-42-09
Friday, 09 Jan 2015 01:42 PM
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