Pope Francis sets date for Consistory for new Cardinals – short, odd list

13_03_08_cardinalsAt the English site of Vatican Radio we find the names of the soon-to-be Cardinals.  There is something rather odd in the list.

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Sunday announced a consistory for the creation of new Cardinals. He made the announcement at the end of the Regina Caeli in St Peter’s Square.

The new Cardinals come from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos and El Salvador. The Consistory will take place on June 28th.

Find below the list of new Cardinal designates:

Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali.

Archbishop Juan José Omella of Barcelona, Spain.

Bishop Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden.

Archbishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun Apostolic Vicar of Paksé, Laos.

Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez – Auxillary[!] Bishop in the Archdiocese of San Salvador, El Salvador.

This is pretty strange.

My take is that Francis intends to move the now-Auxiliary Bishop almost immediately after the consistory, if not before.  Remember that he made the Archbishop of Indianapolis a Cardinal and then moved him right away.

These men are all under 80, so they will be electors.  Popes often name some cardinals who are over 80 as an honor.  Right now there are 116 electors.  Card. Vegliò, an Italian, turns 80 next February, so the College will have 121 electors for the time being.

Once again a notable American prelate is absent from the list.

Stockholm… In 2014 the Diocese of Stockholm had a population of 9.6 million, of whom 1.1% are Catholic, for some 106k Catholics, and 159 priests, both diocesan and religious.  The Pope was recently in Sweden, in Lund, to celebrate Martin Luther.  Arborelius played a key role in organizing the visit.

Paksé, in Communist Laos, is an Apostolic Vicariate, not a diocese. In 2014 there were 1.2 million there, with 1.3% Catholics, for a total of 15702 Catholics, and a total of 7 priests. In 2015, Pope Francis authorized the beatification of 17 Laotians “Joseph Tien and companions” killed between 1954 and 1970 by Communist Pathet Lao forces.

The Archdiocese of Bamako in 2014 had a population of 4.4 million, with 136k Catholics, 3.1% of the population, with 54 priests.

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  1. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Do any of these Cardinals-designate have a track record of speaking ill of the perennial teaching of the Church?

    What is the state of the Church in these areas?

    How many Cardinals has His Holiness now created?

  2. stuartal79 says:

    The bishop from Stockholm is solidly orthodox. He’s an excellent choice.

  3. Benedict Joseph says:

    Am I allowed to be suspicious of this deal? The deck seems to be stacked. My estimation of Bishop Arborelius, OCD, had always been quite positive, but the Lund event soured me somewhat. I’m afraid every consistory has me braced for the worst.

  4. TWF says:

    So we’ll have an Aux Bishop who outranks metropolitans. Bizarre. It seems HH Francis has no interest in elevating the pastors of large, prestigious particular churches. We’ll now have Cardinals who have responsibility for mere thousands of souls, while the Archbishop of LA with 5 million charges is passed over. It’s interesting.

  5. stuartal79 says:

    Benedict Joseph, I thought Bishop Arborelius offered a very good perspective on the Lund event: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/5166/Swedens_Catholic_Bishop_We_Christians_Speak_With_One_Voice.aspx . These comments are one reason why I am confident in his orthodoxy.

  6. Simon_GNR says:

    TWF: “So we’ll have an Aux Bishop who outranks metropolitans. Bizarre.”

    But is this true? Surely being a cardinal is simply an honour, not an appointment to a senior position in the hierarchy? Cardinal Newman, for example, was never a bishop, Newman wouldn’t have outranked his Ordinary even though he, Newman, was a cardinal.

  7. Nan says:

    Remind me which one of these guys is the baseball fan?

  8. VexillaRegis says:

    Yes, the Swedish bishop Anders Arborelius is solidly orthodox, Prolife and pro-TLM. Not the Lío type at all. Very diplomatic and balanced. As a Scandinavian I’m delighted to hear that he has been chosen to be a cardinal!

  9. TWF says:

    I think its a shame that Western Canada doesn’t have a cardinal. Rome only seems to consider Ontario and Quebec in these choices. Archbishop Miller of Vancouver would be an excellent choice! One can dream.

  10. Joseph-Mary says:

    Once again reaching to the so called peripheries.

  11. the little brother says:

    The Holy Father is putting everyone in place for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  12. “The Holy Father is putting everyone in place for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

    … which would be a neat trick, since the Vatican confirmed that the consecration took place more than thirty years ago when the entire world was included, and that Sister Lucia herself confirmed that this satisfied Our Lady’s request. Then again, there are those who are convinced that Sister was actually an imposter, which is a can of worms all in itself.

    But anyway.

    If it were up to me (and sadly, it’s not), we’d only have the traditional number of seventy cardinals, and no more than two would come from the United States; Baltimore (the ostensibly primatial see), and whichever one was established first by the Spanish out west. That would pretty much take the “careerist” angle out of it, at least for the USA. The rest would come from around the world, not just Europe, and not just above the Equator.

  13. hwriggles4 says:

    Logistically speaking, like the auxiliary bishop who is also a pastor, Cardinal Kevin Farrell was elevated to his new position in Rome without ever being an Archbishop. Prior to Cardinal Farrell’s appointment, he was an auxiliary bishop in Washington, D.C. before Pope Benedict XVI elevated him to become the Bishop of Dallas upon the retirement of Bishop Grahmann. I live in Texas, and Farrell orchestrated some positive renewal that was needed in the Dallas Diocese.

    That said, I am not Pope Francis, I am not a JCL, but I am under the impression that the Pope has the authority to make decisions like appointing new cardinals for other parts of the world, like Southeast Asia and Scandanavia.

    Hmmm….maybe next week, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf will be named the new bishop of Cleveland (Lennon retired late last year for health reasons) or Archbishop of Indianapolis (which is currently open). Only Pope Francis and the Papal Nuncio to the United States know who is being considered.

  14. guatadopt says:


    As a member of the failthful in the Diocese of Cleveland, that would be amazing! Perhaps even with the personal title of Archbishop like one of our predecessors. On a side note, we just ordained 8 men to the priesthood this weekend. I believe the most of any diocese in the country this year.

  15. Bl. Clemens von Galen was not an archbishop, but merely the Bishop of Muenster, and yet he was granted the Red Hat. Of course, that was to recognize his outstanding courage in in the face of Nazism, and also to console the faithful of newly-vanquished Germany.

  16. WGS says:

    and don’t forget that Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ was (pardon the expression, but) merely a priest. Cardinals are advisors chosen by the Popes. Being instituted as a Cardinal is not like receiving a promotion to a higher level of bishopry.

  17. Emilio says:

    Cardinal-designate Arborelius is a SOLID choice. He has collaborated extensively with EWTN, and boy if Scandinavia isn’t a “periphery” that needs a shot in the arm like this. I was prepared for the worst when skimming the headline on Twitter that didn’t include the names, but later felt overjoyed with this “Scandinavian surprise.”

  18. DetJohn says:

    RE: Aux. Bishop Chavez, he will have to submit his resignation 67 days after he becomes a Cardinal.
    Only one Diocese is vacant in El Salvador.
    I don’t see him staying an Auxillary Bishop.
    Maybe the Pope will bring him to Rome.

  19. VexillaRegis says:

    Here’s an interview with Bp Arborelius from the EWTN. It’s NOT the typical “First- I-did-this-then-I-did-that interview. It’s very uplifting and profound. The bishop is a sweetie and a rock at the same time. Get a cup o Mystic Monk Coffee and watch this program!


  20. avatquevale says:

    @VexillaRegis: The bishop of Stockholm might well be a sweetie, as you say.
    But not all Swedish Catholics were enchanted by the sweet Lutheran/Catholic luv-in in October 2016 when Pope Francis traveled to Lund to celebrate Luther.

    Joseph-Mary says: “Once again reaching to the so called peripheries.”
    Yes, and Sweden is as peripheral as the planet Pluto.

  21. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear avatquevale, my point was this: Bp Arborelius, being a man of orthodoxy, peace and calm, isn’t likely going to vote for a candidate of the opposite kind in the next conclave.

    Scandinavia lies in the Catholic cultural periphery, that’s true, but the distance from Lund to Rome is only about 2000 km (2912 miles). Would You be able to go to Rome by car in a day? ;-)

  22. Imrahil says:

    Would You be able to go to Rome by car in a day?

    I would, if lucky, if I force myself to do so, and if traffic conditions are fine. But anything more than Rome would be problematic.

    A Swedishman, who has double the distance to Rome I have, would need two days.

    (Although, dear Vexilla Regis, that’s peripheral to your actual point.)

  23. stuartal79 says:

    The consensus is that Bishop Arborelius is an excellent choice. Does anyone have any intel on the other soon to be Cardinals? I have not been able to find any substantial information.

  24. Mike of Arkansas says:

    VexillaRegis: 2000 km = 1243 miles

  25. Gabriel Syme says:

    I don’t personally know one jot about any of these guys, but I was dismayed to read Rorate Caeli describing the consistory as Francis “stacking the deck”.

    Hopefully the appointments are well balanced, but I have been pretty underwhelmed by many of the men made Cardinals thus far under Francis.

  26. amenamen says:

    Auxiliary, Titular, President of Caritas

    The Church continues the peculiar and deeply rooted practice of making auxiliary bishops and curial bishops the “titular” bishops of defunct, abandoned, ancient sees.

    There are plenty of these empty chairs, especially in the deserts of North Africa, first laid waste by the Vandals, and later obliterated by the Moslems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_titular_sees#M

    Bishop José Gregorio Rosa Chávez is the titular bishop of a small pile of dusty rocks in Tunisia, in the former province of Carthage, in the once thriving diocese called Mulli.

    My Google Translate tells me that Mulli, in Latin, refers to the barbel, or mullet (the fish, not the hairdo), but it is anybody’s guess who really named the forgotten town and why.

    Bishop Rosa Chavez is the pastor of a parish, but his big claim to fame seems to be his role as the president of “Caritas” in El Salvador, as well as all of Latin America and the Caribbean. http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2017/05/21/170521b.html


    Caritas is a huge international network of Catholic charities and social services.

    The current president of Caritas Internationalis is Cardinal Tagle. From 2007 until 2015, the president was Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga. http://www.caritas.org/author/cardinalrodriguez/

  27. comedyeye says:

    I nominate Bishop Morlino to be the next American prelate nominated for the red hat.

  28. SJG says:

    You know, I have to admit that I’m not bothered by these names, even though I know very little about them.

    It *does* disturb me when the Holy Father passes over obvious choices for someone who essentially fits the same profile as an obvious choice but of a different ideological bent – for example, Tobin and Cupich being elevated over Gomez and Chaput.

    However, I do understand the Holy Father’s desire to establish cardinals in places where they traditionally wouldn’t be found in order to offer greater “representation”, so to speak, to the world’s Catholics, especially in areas where Catholics themselves are already underrepresented in the local population. There are really only two ways I can think of for him to make that desire a reality: one is to pass over the “obvious choices” in order to elevate “peripheral” choices, or to increase the numbers in the College of Cardinals.

    Frankly, I’d be more concerned for the Holy Father to increase the College’s size than I am that he’s selecting out-of-the-box choices. I do think he’s trying to ‘stack the deck’ a *little*, judging from some of his appointments, but that’s also a Pope’s prerogative in choosing the people who will choose his successor. He could certainly go about it in a more heavy-handed way, though, than by appointing orthodox Scandinavians, if his motives were entirely wrong-headed.

  29. joekstl says:

    From what I’ve read of the background of the cardinals-elect Pope Francis is choosing those who are close to his desire for pastors who are exemplars of Jesus’ command to make his presence known for their service to the poor. The only thing odd or strange is that Francis’ choices break with the tradition of choosing the “next in line” or the heads of “prestigious” dioceses. I hope he continues this process.

  30. Mac_in_Alberta says:

    Never mind Vancouver. Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton would be a great and solid choice, although it pains me as a Calgarian to write that.

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