Pope To Create 13 New Cardinals In November

This photo taken and handout on August 26, 2020 by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis speak during a live-streamed weekly private audience from the library of the apostolic palace in the Vatican during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP) 


Pope Francis said Sunday he will create 13 new Catholic cardinals next month, including the first African-American “prince of the church” and a Franciscan preacher to the papal household.

Francis made the surprise announcement from his window overlooking Saint Peter’s Square at the end of his weekly Angelus, and said they would be appointed on November 28.

It will be “an unusual and possibly unprecedented ceremony, held during the midst of a continuing global pandemic”, Vatican expert Joshua McElwee said in the National Catholic Reporter.

The Vatican has been on high alert over the health of the pope, 83, after a flurry of cases within the tiny city state, and such a ceremony could present risks for elderly participants.

Nine of the new cardinals are under 80 years old, and therefore eligible to take part in the secret conclaves to elect the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, who is chosen from among them.

As well as having that key role, cardinals, who wear red hats and are known as “princes” of the Roman Catholic church, often also hold the highest administrative offices in the centuries-old institution.

This photo taken and handout by the Vatican Media on April 11, 2020 shows Pope Francis holding the Holy Book of Prayers during Easter’s Holy Saturday Vigil held behind closed doors at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on April 11, 2020 during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP / VATICAN


The 13 include Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory, 72, a progressive who will be the first African-American cardinal, and Italian priest Raniero Cantalamessa, 84, who has served as preacher to three papal households.

Italian bishop Marcello Semeraro, a Francis ally who took over as head of the Vatican’s saint-making department after his predecessor Cardinal Angelo Becciu was fired over embezzlement allegations, also gets a red hat.

So will Maltese Mario Grech, the head of the Synod of Bishops, a papal advisory body which Francis has been using to help him implement his pastoral renewal of the church.

Others include Antoine Kambanda, the Archbishop of Kigali in Rwanda; Jose Fuerte Advincula, the Archbishop of Capiz in the Philippines; and Celestino Aos Braco, the Archbishop of Santiago in Chile.


Pope Francis ‘Constantly Monitored’ For COVID-19 – Vatican

Pope Francis waves to worshipers from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square on September 13, 2020 in The Vatican, during the weekly Angelus prayer within the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)


Pope Francis is being “constantly monitored” for signs of the coronavirus, a top Vatican official said Monday, after the 83-year old pontiff met with a cardinal who later tested positive.

Philippine cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, 63, had a private audience with Francis on August 29. He went on to test positive for Covid-19 on his return to Manila on September 10.

“We are being prudent,” Secretary of State Pietro Parolin told ANSA news agency.

“There is no particular alarm (in the Vatican)”, but the health of the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was being “constantly monitored,” he added.

Pope Francis, whose birth name is Jorge Bergoglio, has shown little fear for his own health since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic early this year.

The pope talks to those who visit him at the Apostolic Palace without wearing a face mask. Last week he was spotted wearing one for the first time since the start of the pandemic, but he took it off to chat to the faithful.

Francis shunned however his usual practice of shaking hands and kissing babies, and used hand sanitiser which was handed to him by a personal assistant.

The pope was tested for the coronavirus in March when a prelate living in the same residence as him was found to be positive.


Alleged Sexual Abuse: Pope Accepts Chile Cardinal Ezzati’s Resignation

Pope Francis with some Cardinals at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. Source: AFP


Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Chilean Cardinal Riccardo Ezzati, who had agreed to step down along with his country’s bishops over sexual abuse cases and their cover-up, the Vatican said Saturday.

Ezzati, archbishop of Santiago, is the seventh senior Chilean church official to resign over a scandal which the pope insists must be remedied.

To date, Ezzati, the Catholic Church’s highest official in Chile, has maintained his right to silence although he has promised to cooperate with the investigation into his activities — if the authorities first clear him, insisting he is innocent.

The latest move in the Vatican’s attempts to deal with abuse within the higher echelons of the Roman Catholic Church comes just days after disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell received a jail term for sexually abusing two choirboys.

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Pell, 77, and the former Vatican number three has maintained his innocence and says he plans to appeal his conviction on five offences including oral rape and molestation of the boys in 1996-1997.

The decision over Ezzati also comes with Chilean media reporting that the nation’s court of appeal had Friday confirmed he would face trial for not denouncing sexual abuse by three priests.

It also comes after Argentine Pope Francis last Monday rejected the resignation of French cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was handed a six-month suspended jail sentence earlier this month for failing to report sex abuse by a priest under his authority. Barbarin has appealed.

The pontiff stated last month that “no abuse must ever be covered up, as has happened in the past” as the Church struggles to restore trust in its efforts to fight child abuse given the slew of abuse cases.

In October, Francis did, reluctantly, accept the resignation of US cardinal and Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl, accused of helping to cover up hundreds of child abuse cases in his former diocese.

And in February the pontiff defrocked former cardinal American Theodore McCarrick, 88, who a Vatican court found guilty of sexually abusing a teenager 50 years ago.

McCarrick became the first cardinal ever to be defrocked for sex abuse.


Convicted Australian Cardinal To Be Sued Over Alleged Abuse

Cardinal George Pell (C) makes his way to the court in Melbourne on February 27, 2019. Con CHRONIS / AFP


A man is set to sue convicted Australian Cardinal George Pell over child sex abuse allegations, reports said Monday, days after state prosecutors dropped his criminal case against the disgraced cleric.

Pell — the most senior Catholic clergyman to be found guilty of child sex abuse — is currently in detention awaiting sentencing for assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s.

News of the conviction in December had been suppressed by a court until last Tuesday when prosecutors dropped a second trial involving alleged abuse at a swimming pool in Pell’s hometown of Ballarat in Victoria state in the 1970s.

The man in the second trial, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in the new civil lawsuit’s statement of claim that he felt “empty” after his criminal case was withdrawn before he could give evidence, Melbourne’s The Age reported.

“It took a lot of courage and soul-searching to be prepared to tell my story, accusing one of the most senior Catholics in the world of serious criminal offences, and eventually I was ready to have my day in court,” the man said in the statement of claim, the newspaper reported.

“But when I was told they had withdrawn the case I felt empty, and that an injustice had occurred.”

The alleged victim, reportedly now 50 years old, will also sue the trustees of Nazareth House which ran St Joseph’s Boys Home where he was a ward, Victoria state and the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in a lawsuit to be filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

He is seeking damages for psychiatric injury, loss of wages and medical expenses, The Australian reported.

A Supreme Court of Victoria spokesman said it had yet to receive any filing in the matter.

News of Pell’s conviction which emerged last week is expected to encourage victims of alleged sex abuse by another clergy to come forward.

Pell, who helped elect popes and ran the Vatican’s finances, was found guilty by a trial jury on one count of sexual abuse and four counts of indecent assault of two boys.


Pope names 22 new cardinals

Pope Benedict on Saturday elevated 22 prelates to the rank of cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church at a solemn ceremony in St Peter’s Basilica.

Numerically, at least, the pope has increased the chances that the next pontiff will be a conservative European but there have been surprises in past conclaves.

The pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women priests. Each time he names cardinals he puts his stamp on Roman Catholicism’s future by choosing men who share his views.

Besides Dolan, other prominent new cardinals are John Tong Hon, archbishop of Hong Kong, and Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin in the pope’s native Germany.

Seven of new “cardinal electors” under the age of 80 are Italian – six of them members of the Vatican’s central administration and the other the archbishop of Florence.

Popes usually reign for life but in a book last year, Benedict said he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign willingly in more than 700 years if he felt himself no longer able, “physically, psychologically and spiritually”, to run the Catholic Church.

Several popes in recent history, including the late Pope John Paul, considered resigning for health reasons, but none did so.

The last pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294 after reigning for only five months. Gregory XII reluctantly abdicated in 1415 to end a dispute with a rival claimant to the Holy See.

The pope’s health is good but he needs to conserve his strength says the Vatican. Last October he started using a mobile platform which aides use to wheel him up the central aisle of St Peter’s Basilica.
Here are the names of the new Cardinals:
Under 80 years old and eligible to enter a conclave to elect the next pope:
1. Archbishop Fernando Filoni, Italian, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
2. Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Portuguese, head of Vatican office that deals with the sacrament of penance.
3. Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, Spanish, archpriest of the Rome basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
4. Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, Italian, head of the Vatican’s Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants.
5. Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, Italian, governor of Vatican City.
6. Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, Italian, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
7. Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz, Brazilian, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Consecrated Life.
8. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, American, Grandmaster of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
9. Archbishop Domenico Calcango, Italian, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See.
10. Archbishop Giuseppe Versaldi, Italian, president of the Vatican’s Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
11. His Beatitude George Alencherry, Indian, major archbishop of the Siro-Malabar rite in India.
12. Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins, Canadian, archbishop of Toronto.
13. Archbishop Dominik Duka, Czech, archbishop of Prague
14. Archbishop Willem Jacobus Eijk, Dutch, archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands.
15. Archbishop Giuseppe Betori, Italian, archbishop of Florence.
16. Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan, American, archbishop of New York.
17. Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki, German, archbishop of Berlin.
18. Archbishop John Tong Hon, Chinese, archbishop of Hong Kong.
Over 80 and therefore not eligible to enter a conclave:
1. His Beatitude Lucian Muresan, Romanian, major archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Iulia in Romania.
2. Father Julien Ries, Belgian, professor emeritus of religious history at the Catholic University of Louvain.
3. Father Prosper Grech, Maltese, professor emeritus of various Italian universities.
4. Father Karl Becker, German, of the Gregorian University in Rome.