Vatican looks beyond Europe with new cardinal nominees


CARDINAL DESIGNATE. Luis Antonio Tagle: Bringing Filipinos closer to the Pope.

VATICAN CITY—Six non-European prelates, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, are set to join the Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals on Saturday, a move welcomed by critics concerned that the body which will elect the future pope is too Eurocentric.

Pope Benedict XVI will appoint the new “Princes of the Church” during a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica where they are given red hats and gold rings.

The six, who are from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines and the United States, could help favor the South within the Church. They join the elite body that advises the pope and elects his successor upon his death.

“By convening this little consistory I wanted to complete the one held in February in the context of a new evangelism… showing that the Church belongs to all peoples, speaks all languages,” Benedict told bishops last month.

“It is not the Church of one continent but a universal Church,” he added, rebuffing some critics who claimed he was being too Eurocentric, after naming 22 new cardinals in February, 16 of whom are Europeans.

Aside from Tagle, the new cardinals will be the American James Michael Harvey, Lebanon’s Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, India’s Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Nigeria’s John Onaiyekan, and Colombia’s Ruben Salazar Gomez.

Tagle, 55, is noted for his young, modern approach. In February, he openly urged the Church to tackle child-sex-abuse offenders and has called on bishops to report rather than protect paedophile suspects in the wake of the scandals.

Harvey, 63, prefect of the papal household since 1998, was the direct supervisor of the pope’s disgraced former butler Paolo Gabriele, who was sentenced this month to 18 months in prison for stealing secret Vatican memos.

He will be named archpriest of one of the four principal basilicas in Rome.

Bechara, 72, is the head of the Christian Maronite Church in Lebanon. Last year he called on the West to give Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad a chance, amid fears that Islamic extremism would take root and threaten Christians.

Thottunkal, the youngest cardinal to be appointed, at age 53, became archbishop of Trivandrum in 2007.

He is the second prelate from Southern India to be made cardinal this year — a way for the pope to express his consideration for a thriving but rather unknown national church.

Onaiyekan, 68, has promoted peace after attacks on Christians by the Islamist sect Boko Haram in Nigeria, urging victims not to retaliate.

Salazar Gomez, 70, has been the archbishop of the Bogota diocese since 2010, and has always fostered national peace talks between the goverment and the FARC.

The consistory follows the death of several cardinals in recent months and will bring the number of those eligible to vote back up to the maximum of 120.

Cardinals must be under 80 years old to take part in a papal election although they can stay on as non-voting cardinals after they reach that threshold.

The consistory in February led to criticism over the poor representation from beyond Europe. While nearly half of the world’s Catholics are in Latin America, there was only one cardinal appointed from “the Catholic continent”.

The nomination of seven Italians also brought to 30 the elector cardinals from Italy — almost a quarter of the total, far outweighing any other country.

After the new consistory, there will be 62 European cardinals eligible to vote compared to 67 in February, as well as 14 North Americans, 21 South Americans, 11 Africans and 11 Asians.

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  • Pablo316

    Here’s something for well-informed Catholics, you don’t have to agonize on what was really your Fatima’s third secret, you just have to realize what the near future holds for the Roman Catholic Church as describe in Revelation chapter 17.
    The Roman Catholic Church will be ransacked and its properties appropriated by the coming world power; whether that will be the EU or not but that is what is in store for your beloved church.

    • EC

      Let me ask you something Pablo316. Revelation 1:1 mention something like “things which must shortly come to pass”. From the time it was written until the present time, some 2000 years has elapsed. If events described in Revelation 17 is yet to occur, literally or figuratively, surely 2000 years could not be “shortly come to pass” means.

      • Pablo316

        You should have read on because it says there also:
        “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” (Revelation 1:19)
        This tells us that what the book of Revelation contains events where some have been seen by John already, some are presently happening and some are still into the future without specifying any dates due to the fact that believers were told to just watch out for specific signs then they can tell that the Day of the Lord is already near, almost at the door.
        If the Lord Jesus Christ gave us a date then there’s no need for this often repeated admonition in the Bible to ‘keep watch’.

  • opinyonlangpo

    Its fine whatever they do as long as they don’t interfere in Philippine politics. They call themselves prince with red hat and gold rings, maybe they think Jesus also got gold rings and live a princely life before. Thats their business and business is business even if they live in palaces too.

  • henri_see

    Happy thanksgiving everyone!

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