Pope names 19 new cardinals, focusing on the poor
Pope Francis reads the list of 19 new Cardinals during the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014. The pontiff has named his first batch of cardinals, choosing 19 men from Asia, Africa, North and South America and elsewhere, including Haiti and Burkina Faso, to reflect his attention to the poor. Francis made the announcement Sunday as he spoke from his studio window to a crowd in St. Peter's Square. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis named his first batch of cardinals Sunday, choosing 19 men from around the world, including the developing nations of Haiti and Burkina Faso, in line with his belief the church must pay more attention to the poor.
But advocates for victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy said they felt let down that Francis didn't unequivocally embrace their calls that prelates who hadn't made a clean break with past practices of covering up pedophile behavior never be promoted.
Francis read out the 19 names to a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter's Square.
Sixteen of the appointees are younger than 80, meaning they would be eligible to elect the next pope, which is a cardinal's most important task, after the Feb. 22 ceremony to formally install them.
Since his election in March as the first pontiff from Latin America, the pope has broken tradition after tradition in terms of protocol and style at the Vatican. But in Sunday's list, Francis stuck to the church's rule of having no more than 120 cardinals eligible to elect the next pontiff.
The College of Cardinals is 13 shy of that 120-mark among eligible-to-vote members. In addition, three cardinals will turn 80 by May. That means Francis chose the exact number of new cardinals needed to bring the voting ranks up to 120 during the next few months.
Some appointments were expected, including that of his new secretary of state, Italian archbishop Pietro Parolin, and the German head of the Vatican's watchdog office for doctrinal orthodoxy, Gerhard Ludwig Mueller. Two others named Sunday also come from the curia, as the Holy See's Rome-based bureaucracy is known.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope's selection of churchmen from Haiti and Burkina Faso reflects Francis' attention to the destitute as a core part of the church's mission.
Francis' announcement of the honor of the Les Cayes Bishop Chibly Langlois, who, at 55, was the youngest of the appointees, came as the impoverished Caribbean nation marked the anniversary of the quake there that killed tens of thousands of people.
"Today we are marking four years since the earthquake," said a priest, Hans Alexandre, in Haiti. The pontiff's emphasis on the poor "touches us immensely."
In Burkina Faso, the archbishop of Ouagadougou, Philipe Ouedraogo, said he thought reporters had made a mistake when they called him about his promotion to cardinal's rank, as he had no advance word from the Vatican. He also embraced Francis' vision of a church toiling for those on the margins of society.
"I fully recognize myself in his vision and pastoral philosophy that, like Jesus, identifies himself with the poor and the sick," the African prelate said. Ouedraogo, very popular in his homeland, had recently opposed a proposed change to the constitution to allow the country's president, in power since 1987, to run for another term.
Once again, the cardinal's red hat eluded Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. The prelate in that traditionally Catholic country has angered some in the Vatican by strongly criticizing how the hierarchy handled the worldwide clerical sex abuse scandal.