VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis unexpectedly named 13 new cardinals on Sunday, choices that have again revealed his wish for the Church to go out to the peripheries and the developing world.
But they also reveal Churchmen supportive of other issues close to his heart, including open migration policies, concern for the environment and populism, a diplomatic rather than realist stance toward Islam, and sympathies for those supportive of homosexual issues.
“Their origin expresses the missionary vocation of the Church as she continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to every person on Earth,” the Pope said.
The new cardinals, 10 of whom will be eligible to vote in a conclave, will receive their red hats during a cardinal-making consistory on Oct. 5, the vigil of the Oct. 6-27 Amazonian synod.
With Francis’ new choices, the number of cardinal-electors will rise to 128, eight more than the number that was recommended by Pope St. Paul VI (Pope St. John Paul II also on occasion exceeded the 120 limit), although the number is to swiftly decline in the coming months.
Three electors — Congo Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Italian Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli and Indian Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo — are soon to lose their eligibility to vote, as they turn 80 later in October, with others exceeding the voting age next year.
After the Oct. 5 cardinal-making consistory, which will be Francis’ sixth, the College of Cardinals will comprise 67 electors chosen by Francis, 42 created by Benedict XVI and 19 by selected by John Paul II.