Cardinals, otherwise known as “princes of the Church,” are second in command under the pope in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and serve as his principal advisors around the world.
On Sunday, the newly appointed cardinals were announced during the pontiff’s regular Sunday morning address in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, hail from a diverse range of countries, of which are three Americans: Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago, Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, Ind., and former Dallas bishop Kevin Farrell.
The group includes men from five countries that had never before had a cardinal: Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Francis also named as cardinal the Vatican envoy to Syria, a signal of the church’s concern for that war-ravaged country. Other appointees are from Venezuela, Brazil, Spain, Belgium, Mauritius, Mexico, Italy and Albania.
On internal church matters, all three American appointees have indicated they support Francis’ efforts to set a tone that is more pastoral than judgmental toward women, gays and Catholics who have divorced and remarried.
Alejandro Bermúdez, a journalist from Peru who is the executive director of the Catholic News Agency, a conservative-leaning outlet, said, “The pope is making sure that his successor follows his line of thought.”
Those under the age of 80 – who account for 13 of the 17 newest appointees – are also eligible to either choose, or become, the next pope, making the appointment of cardinals a highly strategic process that can shape the future of the church.
We await Revival to spring forth even in the Universal Church in a time as this when there is need for the church to follow Biblical standard.