The pope made the surprise announcement while addressing the faithful at the Vatican. The new cardinals could help ensure Francis’ successor will continue his legacy.
Pope Francis named 13 new Roman Catholic cardinals on Sunday. Nine of the new cardinals are under the age of 80, making them eligible to elect his successor.
The move increases the likelihood that the next pope will be a man who continues Francis’ policies.
Francis made the surprise announcement from his studio window to people on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. He said the men would be elevated to the rank of cardinal in a ceremony on November 28.
Among the new electors under the age of 80 is Washington, DC, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who would become the first Black US prelate to be elevated to cardinal.
Wilton was tapped by Francis to lead the diocese in the US capital last year and has served as head of the US Conference of Bishops three times.
Also named was the Kigali, Rwanda Archbishop, Antoine Kambanda, the Capiz, Philippines Archbishop, Jose Fuerte Advincula, and the Santiago, Chile Archbishop, Celestino Aos.
The four non-electors above the age of 80 are being elevated to the cardinal’s rank because of their long service to the Roman Catholic Church.
They include the Vatican’s 86-year-old long-time papal preacher Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan friar.
No details about the consistory, the name of the formal ceremony to elevate the men to cardinals, were provided by the Vatican.