29 May 2022, The Tablet

Pope ensures legacy of his papacy with new cardinal picks

Archbishop Arthur Roche becomes England’s third cardinal

Pope ensures legacy of his papacy with new cardinal picks

Francis has given a red hat to the Yorkshire-born Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Holy See’s liturgy prefect.
© Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

Pope Francis has named a batch of new cardinals in what is a major step by the Argentinian Pope to ensure the body that elects his successor shares his pastoral priorities and represents a broad cross-section of the global Church. 

On Sunday 29 May, the 85-year-old Roman Pontiff chose 16 new cardinal electors including two Indian bishops, a 47-year-old Italian missionary serving in Mongolia, and the leaders of dioceses in Singapore, Ghana, Nigeria and East Timor. 

Francis has also given a red hat to the Yorkshire-born Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Holy See’s liturgy prefect, making him the third English cardinal to have been chosen by this Pope. It means that two cardinals from England are eligible to vote in a future conclave. The second is Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster.

The third, Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald, is over the age of 80 although can serve in an advisory capacity ahead of a papal election.

Appointing cardinals is the closest thing that a Pope has to succession planning and the new appointments ensure that Francis has chosen almost 63 per cent of those able to vote in a conclave. The new cardinals will be created at a consistory ceremony on 27 August and after that point 83 out of the 132 cardinal electors will be Francis appointments. 

With the latest nominations, the Pope has also sent a strong message to the hierarchy of the United States by choosing to give a red hat to Bishop Robert McElroy, the leader of the Diocese of San Diego.

The Harvard and Stanford educated bishop has been firmly opposed to refusing communion to politicians who support abortion laws and has warned against the weaponisation of the Eucharist for political ends.

His appointment comes just days after the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, said he was banning Speaker Nancy Pelosi from communion because of her pro-choice political views.

The choice of McElroy, renowned as a pastoral leader with a deep concern for social justice, shows Francis does not want bishops becoming embroiled in the culture wars. Bishop McElroy has also called for a more welcoming approach to LGBT Catholics and has embraced Francis’ vision of a more synodal Church after he took part in the 2019 Amazon synod.

When it comes to the United States, the Pope has once again overlooked archdioceses which traditionally had cardinals such as Los Angeles, which is led by Archbishop Jose Gomez, the President of the US Bishops’ Conference.

For his part, Archbishop Roche has developed a strong working relationship with the Pope during his time at the Vatican’s liturgy department. The former Bishop of Leeds, who was chosen by Francis last May as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship having previously worked in the number two position, has echoed the Pope’s view that the reforms to Catholic worship which occurred after the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council are “irreversible.” In a recent interview with The Tablet, the cardinal-designate described the council’s document on the liturgy as the “Magna Carta” for his office and he has taken a firm line in introducing restrictions to the use of the pre-Vatican Council liturgy. 

During his pontificate Francis ripped up the unwritten conventions about choosing cardinals, seeking to reform a system that sometimes allowed careerism given it was assumed that being the archbishop of a certain diocese automatically meant becoming a cardinal.

The Pope has instead adopted a “last shall be first” policy by choosing bishops from far-flung corners of the globe and serving in countries that have never had a cardinal before. The criteria Francis follows is exemplary pastoral service and tends to seek out those who would never expect to be elevated to the highest ranks of the church hierarchy. At the same time, Francis has continued to make the leaders of departments of the Roman Curia cardinals and, along with Archbishop Roche, the Pope has given a red hat to Archbishop Lazarus You Heung-sik, a Korean prelate who leads the Holy See’s Congregation for Clergy. 

The Pope chose a total of 21 cardinals, including five who are over the age of 80 and therefore unable to vote in a conclave. The latter are chosen for their long service and include the Jesuit canon lawyer Fr Gianfranco Ghirlanda, who recently helped present the Pope’s landmark new constitution on the Roman Curia (“Praedicate Evangelium”) and Belgian Bishop Lucas van Looy, a Salesian who has worked as a missionary in Korea.


The full list: 


*Archbishop Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. 


*Archbishop Lazarus You Heung-sik, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.


*Archbishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga L.C., President of the Vatican City State administration.


*Archbishop Jean-Marc Aveline, of Marseille (France).


*Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke, of Ekwulobia (Nigeria)


*Archbishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, O.F.M, of Manaus (Brazil)


*Archbishop Filipe Neri António Sebastião do Rosário Ferrão, of Goa and Daman (India)


*Bishop Robert McElroy, of San Diego (U.S.A)


*Archbishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, S.D.B, of Dili (East Timor)


*Bishop Oscar Cantoni, of Como (Italy)


*Archbishop Anthony Poola of Hyderabad (India)


*Archbishop Paulo Cezar Costa of Brasilia (Brazil)


*Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr, M. Afr of Wa (Ghana)


*Archbishop William Seng Chye Goh of Singapore (Singapore)


*Archbishop Adalberto Martínez Flores of Asunción (Paraguay)


*Bishop Giorgio Marengo, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia)


Cardinals over the age of 80:


*Archbishop Emeritus Jorge Enrique Jiménez of Cartagena (Colombia)


*Bishop Emeritus Luc van Looy S.D.B of Ghent (Belgium)


*Archbishop Emeritus Arrigo Miglio of Cagliari (Italy)


*Fr Gianfranco Ghirlanda, former Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (Italy)


*Fr Fortunato Frezza, Canon of St Peter’s Basilica (Italy)


With his appointments, Francis has gone well over the 120 ceiling of cardinal electors that was set by Pope Paul VI. However, this is an unwritten rule and has been exceeded on a number of occasions by previous popes.



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