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Pope Francis appoints 20 new cardinals

(BBC)…The Pope has appointed 20 new cardinals, boosting the number of men from developing countries in the group that will elect his successor.

The new cardinals include the first prelates from Myanmar, Tonga and Ethiopia.

Fifteen are under 80, making them eligible to vote for the next pope.

For the first time, there are more non-European than European cardinals in the electoral body as the Pope seeks to reflect the Church globally.

With the appointments, made during a colourful celebration at the Vatican, the Pope has underlined his determination to change the balance of power in the Church and make it more representative, says the BBC’s Vatican correspondent, David Willey.

Variety of countries

When he announced the appointments in January, the Pope said the naming of cardinals from 14 countries from every continent in the world showed the Vatican’s “inseparable link” with Catholics around the world.

Cardinals gather during a ceremony in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, 14 February 2015It is the second time Pope Francis has appointed new cardinals from a wide variety of countries
Cardinals line up in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, 14 February 2015The Pope has said he wants to see an overhaul of the Church, bringing it closer to ordinary people
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, flanked by his former personal secretary and Prefect of the Pontifical House Georg Ganswein (R), at St Peter's Basilica on 14 February 2015Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was invited by Pope Francis to attend Saturday’s ceremony

One of the new cardinals, Soane Patita Paini Mafia, hails from Tonga, a Pacific island where a tiny Catholic community of some 17,000 is threatened with losing its home because of climate change.

Another, Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, presides over an archdiocese that includes Lampedusa, the first European landfall for tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

Also notable among the new appointments is Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuanan from Panama, who has campaigned to protect indigenous peoples.

The latest members of the College of Cardinals include five retired bishops who are over 80 and so cannot take part in a papal election.

It is the second time Pope Francis has announced the appointment of new cardinals from a wide variety of countries.

Last January he named 19 new additions, including churchmen from Haiti and Burkina Faso, which a Vatican spokesman said reflected his commitment to the poor.

That has been a hallmark of his pontificate. The Pope has said he wants to see an overhaul of the Church, bringing it closer to ordinary people.

In a pre-Christmas address to cardinals, Pope Francis sharply criticised the Vatican bureaucracy, complaining of “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and “the terrorism of gossip”.

He has previously said the Roman Catholic Church must strip itself of all “vanity, arrogance and pride” and humbly serve the poorest in society.

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The 20 new cardinals

  • Archbishop Dominique Mamberti (France)
  • Archbishop Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente (Portugal)
  • Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel (Ethiopia)
  • Archbishop John Atcherley Dew (New Zealand)
  • Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli (Italy)
  • Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon (Vietnam)
  • Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda (Mexico)
  • Archbishop Charles Maung Bo (Myanmar)
  • Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij (Thailand)
  • Archbishop Francesco Montenegro (Italy).
  • Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet (Uruguay)
  • Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez (Spain).
  • Bishop Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan (Panama)
  • Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, (Capo Verde).
  • Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafia (Tonga)
  • Archbishop emeritus Jose de Jesus Pimiento Rodríguez (Colombia)*
  • Titular Archbishop Luigi De Magistris (Italy)*
  • Titular Archbishop Karl-Joseph Rauber (Germany)*
  • Archbishop emeritus Luis Hector Villalba (Argentina)*
  • Bishop emeritus Julio Duarte Langa (Mozambique)*

* Cardinal emeritus, without voting rights

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