Pope Francis will install 16 new cardinals on August 27, 2022. These men will be among those who vote for the next pope.
He chose one of the California Cardinals. Guess who ? There were four possibilities.
The first is Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. Traditionally, due to its size, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is headed by a cardinal. Additionally, Gomez currently serves as president of the U.S. Episcopal Conference. As the leader of the bishops, he encouraged the drafting of a document that would not allow politicians who support abortion rights to receive communion.
The second is Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. In May, he announced he would bar House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion. In a public letter, he wrote that Pelosi was “not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confesses and receives absolution.” .
Cordileone was not chosen.
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The third is Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles. Barron created and currently directs Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, the largest and growing ministry of adult education and training in the United States. Barron is also known as an excellent speaker and has been compared to Bishop Fulton Sheen. (Incidentally, Barron will soon become the bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester.)
The fourth is Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego. Asked about the restoration of the ministry of women in the diaconate, he replied: “I am in favor of it”. Although he abhors abortion, McElroy warned against “weaponizing” the Eucharist for political purposes. It follows Pope Francis, who has never denied Communion to anyone, including Italian politicians who have supported certain abortion rights.
McElroy was chosen. He will be the first cardinal of the Diocese of San Diego.
Michael Winters, a reporter for the National Catholic Reporter, called McElroy’s choice “exciting. He has long been recognized as the leading intellectual among the American bishops.
The newly appointed cardinals will come from various countries: Nigeria, Brazil, India, East Timor, Ghana, Singapore, Paraguay and Mongolia. Francis continues to make the Church more universal. It has increased the percentage of cardinals from Africa and Asia while the percentage of European cardinals is decreasing.
As of August 27, there will be 132 cardinals eligible to vote at the next papal conclave. There are 11 appointed by John Paul II, 38 by Benedict XVI and 83 by Francis. This means Francis has named more than 62% of the men who will eventually elect his successor.
Some think the odds are favorable that the next pope will continue Francis’ policies. But no one knows for sure. In conclaves there is a mysterious combination of divine guidance and human evaluation. The voters are known, the result is not. When Francis was elected in 2013, it came as a surprise to most who follow the papal elections.
In the meantime, I pray for the health of Pope Francis. I’m in no rush to have a papal conclave.
Vince Hatt is the author of a new book, “5 Minutes Matter: End of Life Reflections on Spirituality and Religion.” He will be hosting a book signing celebration at the Franciscan Spiritual Center on Tuesday, June 28, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The books are available from FSC or on Amazon. Even if you don’t buy the book, stop by for a chocolate chip cookie.