Tags: America's Forum | Pope Francis | Vatican | Cardinals

Ed Pentin: Cardinal Picks Show Pope's Desire to Reach Out

By    |   Tuesday, 06 January 2015 12:05 PM

In naming a host of new cardinals from developing nations, Pope Francis is bringing a more “international perspective” to the 1.2 billion member Catholic Church, Newsmax Vatican correspondent Ed Pentin said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's “America’s Forum.”

“He talks a lot about going to the peripheries and going to the margins and reaching out and bringing them into the church,” Pentin said. “This is very much part of that sort of passion in his appointment of cardinals. He's chosen cardinals from countries that haven't usually had princes of the church, as they call the cardinals. So he's really shaking up, in a sense, the College of Cardinals in this way.”

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Pope Francis named 15 new cardinals on Sunday, the majority coming from developing nations, such as Cape Verde, Myanmar, Tonga, Vietnam and Panama, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“The new batch represents 14 countries in total: five are from Europe, three each from Asia and Latin America, and two each from Africa and Oceania,” the Journal reports.

Pentin points out that Pope Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict, a German, was “very much more Eurocentric,” having selected many of his cardinals from Europe. Ditto for Pope John Paul II, who was Polish, he said.

“But Francis, partly because he comes from the developing world and he comes from – well now the developing world, but the south, the global south – he's bringing this more international perspective, if you like,” Pentin said. “So he's bringing in all of these different cardinals from mostly the developing world. So just over the majority from the global south, as it were.”

Francis’ decision not to elevate any Americans is not surprising, Pentin said, noting that there are already a large number of American cardinals.

“They're the second highest number in the College of Cardinals, in the United States, so there's no real need to fill up the cardinals there,” he said.

The latest batch of cardinals will be installed at a ceremony known as a consistory at the Vatican on Feb. 14.

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The College of Cardinals are the pope’s closest advisers who lead the Vatican’s senior departments and help with decision-making. While some compare it to a senate, Pentin explained the difference.

“It's not quite like that because it's not elected and it's not political,” he said. “It's all to do with the divine nature of the church and the way the church is run as instituted by Christ. So it's different in that sense. But the cardinals are there really just to help him to govern the church.”

In trying to broaden the vision of the church, according to Pentin, Pope Francis has drawn wide support and a worldwide fan base while also upsetting more traditional Catholics who feel the pope is abandoning them.

“A lot of people see him as a great breath of fresh air,” he said. “This choice of cardinals, as I said earlier, are very much a reforming decision of him to sort of look outside the box, as it were, and choose cardinals, people who they never heard of before.

“But then there are those on the other side who say, well, he's not holding to traditional, he’s sort of playing fast and loose with tradition and this is upsetting a certain amount of people within the church who he wanted to reach out to them and say, look, there's a tradition which has to be respected and there has to be continuity with tradition and the modern church and a lot of them don't see him doing that.

“So there's a bit of tension there with Francis and people would like him to return to them and say, look, I'm with you as well, but I also want to take the church forward in the way that I want.”

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In naming a host of new cardinals from developing nations, Pope Francis is bringing a more “international perspective” to the 1.2 billion member Catholic Church, Newsmax Vatican correspondent Ed Pentin said Tuesday on “America’s Forum.”
Vatican, Cardinals
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 12:05 PM
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