Pope Francis Calls Consistory to Create 5 New Cardinals

The cardinal-designates will be elevated to the College of Cardinals at a consistory on Wednesday June 28, the vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Pope Francis announcing next month's consistory after reciting the Regina Caeli prayer, May 21, 2017.
Pope Francis announcing next month's consistory after reciting the Regina Caeli prayer, May 21, 2017. (photo: CTV)

Pope Francis has announced a consistory for the creation of five new cardinals, four of whom are bishops of sees that have never had a cardinal before.

The five new recipients of the red hat come from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos and El Salvador.

The consistory will take place on June 28th, the vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The names of the new cardinal-designates are:

* Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali.

* Archbishop Juan José Omella of Barcelona, Spain.

* Bishop Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden.

* Archbishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun Apostolic Vicar of Paksé, Laos.

* Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez - Auxillary Bishop in the Archdiocese of San Salvador, El Salvador.

Announcing the new names after reciting the Regina Caeli prayer this afternoon, the Pope drew attention to the fact that all five “come from different parts of the world, showing the catholicity of the Church.”

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has made a point of choosing cardinals from the “peripheries” with a few exceptions. Often he selects them from the developing world and from sees never before headed by a cardinal. This time, with the exception of Barcelona, all have a cardinal for the first time. It is also the first time an auxiliary bishop has been elevated to the College of Cardinals.

Many Swedish Catholics are celebrating the choice of Bishop Anders Arborelius. The first ethnic Swede to have been consecrated bishop since the Reformation (most Scandinavian Catholics, particularly clergy,  are immigrants or of immigrant descent), Bishop Arborelius played a key role in ensuring the Pope’s sensitive and controversial visit to Lund last year to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation went smoothly.

A Discalced Carmelite who was received into the Catholic Church at the age of 20, he is highly regarded by many Swedish Catholics who attest to his orthodoxy.  

Despite speculation the Pope would introduce a new rule which would do away with the advised 120 limit of cardinal electors and increase the number to over 150, for now he will roughly adhere to the established practice, exceeding the limit by just one.

Currently there are 116 cardinals eligible to vote in the next conclave. Not until next year does the next cardinal exceed the voting age for cardinals, when Italian Cardinal Antonio Vegliò turns 80 on Feb. 2.

With the five announced today, Francis will have chosen 49 cardinal electors, close to half of the College eligible to vote in the next conclave.

Like his predecessors, the Holy Father will be aware that with each cardinal-making consistory he calls, his stamp on the Church is likely to become more enduring.

The Pope told pilgrims in St. Peter’s square today that the new cardinals will concelebrate Mass on Thursday, June 29, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, along with new metropolitan archbishops, bishops and priests.

Pope Francis creates five new cardinals during a consistory in St. Peter's Basilica on June 28, 2017.

Is Pope Francis About to Name New Cardinals?

NEWS ANALYSIS: Pope Francis could soon convene a consistory for the creation of new cardinals, taking the number of cardinals eligible to take part in a future conclave over the 120 limit established by Paul VI.