Aiming to send the message that the Church is a global institution, Pope Francis has announced the names of five new Cardinals, all of whom are from outside Italy and the Vatican. These people were earlier Roman Catholic prelates and now they have been elevated to the rank of Cardinal. It may be recalled that the Cardinals are an elite group that acts as the primary advisory for the Pope and also has the power to enter a conclave to choose his successor. The news of Pope Francis choosing five new Cardinals all from outside was a surprise to many. The chosen Cardinals come from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos and El Salvador. They will be officially appointed as the Cardinal in a special ceremony known as Consistory. This ceremony will be held on June 28.
Choosing new Cardinals is an important decision since it determines the future of the Roman Catholic Church, which has a membership of more than 1.2 billion people. The new Cardinals that have been chosen are Archbishop Jean Zerbo, 73, of Bamako, Mali, Archbishop Juan Jose Omella, 71, of Barcelona, Spain, Bishop Anders Arborelius, 67, of Stockholm, Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, 73, of Pakse, Laos, and Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez, 74, of San Salvador.