Rome: Three Asians are among 20 new cardinals Pope Francis will create during a Feb. 14 consistory in the Vatican, Matters India reported.
One of the pope’s nominees is Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Southeast Asian nation has a small but vibrant Catholic community and is one of the few countries with which the Holy See doesn’t have diplomatic relations. However, relations have warmed notably in recent years and some expect full ties to be restored in the near future.
The Pope also nominated Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok and Archbishop Charles Maung Bo in Myanmar.
They are among new cardinals from 14 countries in total: five are from Europe, three each from Asia and Latin America, and two each from Africa and Oceania.
Fifteen men are under the age of 80, which makes them eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a future pope. The group of cardinals is the second appointed by Pope Francis, who will have chosen nearly a quarter of voting-age cardinals once they are elevated during a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Feb. 14.
For the second time, the pope chose no new American cardinals. And his nominees in the rich world reflect his preference to focus on smaller cities. For instance, he chose Msgr. Ricardo Blazquez Perez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain.
Referring to the Vatican, Pope Francis told faithful in St Peter’s Square that the churchmen come “from every continent” and “show the indelible tie with the church of Rome to churches in the world.”
In addition to the 15 new cardinals who are under 80 and thus eligible to vote for the next pope, Francis bestowed the honor on five churchmen older than that.
He said they distinguished themselves for their work in the Vatican bureaucracy, in diplomatic service in giving witness to their love of Christ and God’s people. Those included men from Peru and Mozambique.
Speaking from a Vatican window to a crowd in St Peter’s Square, Francis made another surprise announcement. He said that on February 12-13, he will lead of meeting of all cardinals to “reflect on the orientations and proposals for the reform of the Roman Curia,” the Vatican’s administrative bureaucracy.
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