Pope names U.S. archbishop as first African-American cardinal
Pope Francis announced he will create 13 new cardinals Nov. 28, including Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Washington.
The pope made the announcement at the end of his Angelus address Oct. 25, telling the crowd in St. Peter’s Square the names of the nine cardinals under the age of 80, who will be eligible to vote in a conclave, and the names of four elderly churchmen whose red hats are a sign of esteem and honor.
In addition to Cardinal-designate Gregory, who will be the first African American cardinal from the United States, the pope chose as cardinal electors two officials of the Roman Curia and bishops from Italy, Rwanda, the Philippines, Chile and Brunei.
Speaking soon after the announcement with the Catholic Standard, Washington’s archdiocesan newspaper, Cardinal-designate Gregory said he was “deeply humbled” and he knows that “I am reaping a harvest that millions of African American Catholics and people of color have planted. I am deeply grateful for the faith that they have lived so generously, so zealously and with such great devotion.”
Another U.S. citizen is among the new cardinals; retired Italian Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, 80, a former nuncio and a member of the Scalabrinian missionaries, holds dual citizenship. He completed his studies for the priesthood in the United States and taught there for years. He also was director of pastoral care at the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services from 1983 to 1987 when he was named secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.
Once the consistory is held in late November, there will be 128 cardinals under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave. Pope Francis will have created just over 57% of them. Sixteen of the cardinals created by St. John Paul II will still be under 80 as will 39 of the cardinals created by Pope Benedict XVI; Pope Francis will have created 73 of the electors.
U.S. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, retired archbishop of Washington, will celebrate his 80th birthday Nov. 12, before the consistory. Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, whom the pope dismissed as prefect of the congregation for saints in late September, is 72 but renounced the rights of a cardinal, including the right to enter a conclave to elect a new pope.
Italians will continue to have an outsized portion of the electors, rising to 22 of the 128; the United States will stay at nine voters with Cardinal-designate Gregory taking Cardinal Wuerl’s place.
The Vatican press office said specifics will be announced later about how the consistory and the usual related activities will unfold given COVID-19 restrictions on travel and gatherings. According to canon law, cardinals are created by the pope’s decree, which is “published in the presence of the College of Cardinals.” Church law does not specify how many members of the college must be present nor does it insist that the new cardinal be present, although traditionally the consistory includes a public profession of faith by the new cardinals.
Here is the full list of the new cardinals, in the order named by the pope:
— Maltese Bishop Mario Grech, 63, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops.
— Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro, 72, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.
— Archbishop Antoine Kambanda of Kigali, Rwanda, who will turn 62 Nov. 10.
— Archbishop Gregory, 72.
— Archbishop Jose F. Advincula of Capiz, Philippines, 68.
— Archbishop Celestino Aos Braco of Santiago, Chile, 75.
— Bishop Cornelius Sim, apostolic vicar of Brunei, 69.
— Italian Archbishop Paolo Lojudice of Siena, 56.
— Franciscan Father Mauro Gambetti, custos of the Sacred Convent of Assisi in Assisi, who was to celebrate his 55th birthday Oct. 27.
— Retired Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, 80.
— Retired Italian Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, a former nuncio, 80.
— Italian Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, 86.
— Italian Father Enrico Feroci, 80, former director of Rome’s Caritas.