ROME- On Saturday, the eve of the closing of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis will create 17 new cardinals, 13 of whom could eventually be among the choosers – and perhaps the chosen – to replace history’s first pope from the global south.
When a pope dies, or resigns, all the members of the church’s most exclusive club, technically named “College of Cardinals,” gather in Rome to choose among themselves who will be the new leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.
In what has become a trademark of this pontificate, Francis blindsided long-time Vatican watchers and even most of his closest collaborators alike when he announced the names of his new cardinals on Oct. 9.
The new guys
The pontiff had said, on the way back from his trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan in late September, that a consistory was in the works but that it could be either before the end of the Jubilee or early next year.
What very few were expecting was for the pope’s master of ceremonies to hand him a folded A4 page with the list of names after he concluded the Mass and subsequent Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square in early October, marking the closing of one of the Holy Year’s major event, the Marian Jubilee.
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