Pope Francis said on Sunday he would create 21 new cardinals from across the world at the end of September.
“Their provenance expresses the universality of the Church that continues to proclaim God’s merciful love to all people on earth,” said the pope, following his weekly Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace on Saint Peter’s Square.
The consistory will be the ninth for the creation of cardinals under Pope Francis, who is in the tenth year of his papacy.
His choices are closely watched as an indication of the future direction of the Catholic Church and its priorities for its 1.3 billion faithful.
Cardinals under the age of 80 will participate in the vote to nominate the successor to Francis.
As part of his general ideology of variety and inclusion, Francis has attempted to promote clergy from poor nations far from Rome to the highest ranks of the Church since becoming Pope.
The choices named by Francis on Sunday include clergy from expanding Christian regions such as Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Archbishops of Juba, South Sudan, Cape Town, South Africa, and Tabora, Tanzania have all been elevated to the rank of cardinal. Bishops from Penang, Malaysia, and Hong Kong are also on the list.
Claudio Gugerotti, now prefect for the Dicastery of the Eastern Churches, and Argentina’s Victor Manuel Fernandez, whom Francis appointed in July to head the powerful Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, will also become cardinals.
Included from Latin America is the emeritus archbishop of Cumana, Venezuela, and a Capuchin priest from Buenos Aires.
The last consistory was held in August 2022, when Francis inducted 20 cardinals.
As of last year’s consistory, Francis had chosen around 90 out of the 132 cardinals eligible to elect a new pope, around two-thirds of the total.
Cardinals, who wear the scarlet robes of their office, serve as the pope’s top advisors and administrators.