Cardinals of the Catholic Church from around the world gather here The Vatican This weekend has been compared to a sort of rehearsal for a conclave to elect Francis’ successor (which can only actually take place after the current pope steps down or dies).
On Saturday, Francis will induct 20 new cardinals into the College of Cardinals, whose members serve as the pope’s top advisers and administrators.
Pope announces two new Brazilian cardinals
Sixteen of them are under the age of 80 and thus become cardinal electors (that is, they can run if there is a secret conclave to choose the next pope).
On Saturday there is a ceremony known as a mass (that is, the meeting of the cardinals with the Pope).
Francis leaves his mark on the future of the Church
This is the eighth time Francis has appointed new cardinals. By choosing people with a more inclusive vision of Catholicism, he can leave a mark on the future of the Church.
“The odds are now high that there will be another pope who continues Francis’ policies, but you never know how cardinals will vote when they enter a conclave,” wrote Father Tom Rees, a church historian and columnist for the Religious News Service.
O Pope Francisco, elected in 2013, elected 83 of the 132 cardinal electors (63% of the total). The Church stipulates that there can be a maximum of 120 electors, but it is common for popes to ignore this measure (especially since cardinals over 80 are disenfranchised).
After his election, Francis accepted the regular elections of cardinals. He often says he prefers cardinals from remote places or small towns to Catholics from capital cities in developed countries.
Archbishop Leonardo Steiner of Manaus is the first cardinal from the Amazon region, and his election is a testament to the current pope’s focus on indigenous nations and the Amazon.
Archbishop Dom Leonardo Steiner of Manas during a mass celebration on August 4, 2022 – Photo: Reuters
More appointments in future
In July, the Pope said he had no future plans to step down for health reasons. That means he could name more cardinals next year.
Two days of closed door meetings
The cardinals will meet behind closed doors on Monday and Tuesday.
Officially, these meetings will serve as a discussion on the Vatican’s new constitution, but in practice it will also be an opportunity for cardinals to evaluate each other in order to elect a new pope.
“This is the first time most of the cardinals have been able to see each other in person,” wrote Luis Badilla, head of Il Sismografo, a website specializing in ecclesiastical affairs. He said it would be a rehearsal for a conclave.
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