VERBANIA, Italy (New York Times) — Pope Francis named 15 new cardinals from 14 countries on Sunday, continuing his efforts to diversify the church hierarchy and extend the global reach of the church.
Many of the new bishops and archbishops come from the developing world, including countries like Myanmar, Tonga and the Cape Verde islands that have never had a cardinal, Vatican officials said. In all, nine of those named Sunday come from developing countries.
It is a group representing “every continent, to manifest the indissoluble links between the Church of Rome and the particular churches present in the world,” the pope said to tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly prayer and blessing.
Of the new nominations, only five were European. Breaking with tradition, Francis bypassed many dioceses — mostly European — that traditionally have been selected for a seat in the College of Cardinals.
“He’s breaking all the patterns of cardinal nominations,” and even the bishops of dioceses that in the past led to a cardinal post “will have to earn his respect,” said Alberto Melloni, the director of the John XXIII Center in Bologna. “What’s striking is how quickly he broke with a centuries-old mechanism.”