Pope Francis has named 14 new cardinals, the elite group of churchmen who are his closest advisers and can enter a conclave to choose his successor if they are under 80.
The Pope made the announcement on the new cardinals during his weekly Sunday address. The was ceremony to elevate the nominees, known as a consistory, would take place on June 29.
Vaticannews reports that the men who will receive their red hats from the Pope include bishops from Iraq, Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Italy and Japan.
Pope Francis said their nominations “manifests the unbreakable bond between the See of Peter and the local Churches throughout the world”. Alongside them, Pope Francis also nominated to the College of Cardinals a retired archbishop of Mexico, a retired bishop of Bolivia and a priest from the Claretian order, all of whom, he said, “have distinguised themselves for their service to the Church”.
The names of the new Cardinals are: Louis Raphaël Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of Rome. Giovanni Angelo Becciu,Substitute of the Secretary of State and Special Delegate for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Konrad Krajewski, Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities, Joseph Coutts – Archbishop of Karachi, António dos Santos Marto, Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, were also named.
Others are Pedro Barreto, Archbishop of Huancayo, Desiré Tsarahazana, Archbishop of Toamasina, Giuseppe Petrocchi – Archbishop of L’Aquila, Thomas Aquinas Manyo – Archbishop of Osaka, Sergio Obeso Rivera, Emeritus Archbishop of Xalapa, Toribio Ticona Porco, Emeritus Bishop of Corocoro and Reverend Father Aquilino Bocos Merino, member of the Claretian order.
There was no Nigerian priest on the list but the country has three cardinals at present.
They are Cardinals Francis Arinze, 85, Olubunmi Okogie, 81, and John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, 74. The first Nigerian to be appointed a cardinal in 1976 was Dominic Ignatius Ekandem. He died in 1995. Arinze was appointed in 1985, Okogie 2003 and Onaiyekan 2012.