Pope Francis named 17 new cardinals Sunday — three of them American moderates, including Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich and Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin — in a clear signal to the conservative U.S. church hierarchy that he values pastors focused more on mercy than morals. Tobin's nomination also carries a political message ahead of the U.S. election next month, given that he openly opposed a request from Indiana Gov. Michael Pence, now the running mate of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, to not settle Syrian refugees in the state.
I am shocked beyond words by the decision of the Holy Father. Please pray for me.Tweet from Archbishop Joseph Tobin
Thirteen of the new cardinals, including all the Americans, are under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a future conclave to elect Francis' successor, the key job of a cardinal. As is Francis' tradition, the new cardinals hail from some of the most far-flung and peripheral corners of the globe, with Africa, Asia, South America and Oceania getting far more representation in this round than Europe, which has long dominated the College of Cardinals.
Their provenance from 11 nations expresses the universality of the church that announces and is witness to the good news of the mercy of God in every corner of the world.Pope Francis during a Mass at St. Peter's Basilica