17 cardinals become ‘Princes of the Church’
AFP, Vatican City
Pope Francis created 17 new cardinals, including Archbishop of Dhaka His Eminence Patrick D’Rozario on November 19, 2016 elevating them in a time-honoured ceremony to an elite body that advises and elects popes.
Three of them are from the US, while others come from corners of the wo
rld where the Catholic Church needs a boost.
Dressed in red robes, the “princes of the Church” knelt before the pontiff to pledge their allegiance in a solemn ceremony.
Thirteen of them are under 80 and therefore eligible to take part in the next secret conclave to elect or become the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. They are known as cardinal electors.
History’s first Latin American pope is famed for wanting to reach out to far-flung dioceses often overlooked by Rome and he has shunned European candidates almost entirely, favouring low-key, pastoral figures or men he knows.
The cardinal electors come from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Central African Republic, Italy, Mauritius, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Spain, the United States and Venezuela.
Francis warned them against falling victim to a “growing animosity” between people, including within the Church, in a possible reference to divisions within the hierarchy over Francis’s bid for a more open, forgiving Church.
He also urged them to fight growing xenophobia in the world and protect those such as refugees, who are often classed as enemies.
Patrick D’Rozario comes from Bangladesh where Christians represent just 0.03 percent of the total population, and only fifty percent of those are Catholics.