Pope Francis announced his picks during his customary weekly appearance to the public in St. Peter’s Square, on Sunday (Jul. 09)
The clergymen are set to receive the cardinal's red three-cornered biretta hat from the Pope during a consistory inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican on September 30.
Three of the 21 new cardinals serve in Africa.
They are father Stephen Brislin, 66, archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa; father Protase Rugambwa, 63, co-adjutor archbishop of Tabora, Tanzania; and father Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, 59, archbishop of Juba, South Sudan, which the pope visited earlier this year.
In announcing their names, Francis said the appointment of cardinals from across the globe "expresses the universality of the Church that continues to announce the merciful love of God to all men of the Earth."
According to the 2023 edition of the Pontifical Yearbook, there are 1.3 billion Catholic Christians in the world; with Africa the fastest growing continent.
Catholics are in majority only in the Americas with 64.1% of the population, and are in the minority respectively in Europe (39.6%), Oceania (25.9%), Africa (19.4%) and Asia (3.3%).
Cardinals serve as advisers to the pontiff on matters of teaching and administration, including the Vatican's scandal-plagued finances.
One of their most crucial duties is gathering in a secret conclave to elect the next pontiff.
Also on the list are:
Fr. Americo Manuel Alves Aguiar, an auxiliary bishop from Lisbon, Portugal, which the pope will visit next month for the World Youth Day -a meeting generally attended by over one million young Catholic Christians -was also on the list. At 49, he is exceptionally young for a cardinal.
Fr. Sebastian Francis, 71, bishop of Penang, Malaysia, who heads the bishops conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei; Fr. Francois-Xavier Bustillo, 54, a Franciscan and native Spaniard who is bishop of Ajaccio, on the French island of Corsica; Fr. Luis Jose Rueda Aparicio, 71, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia; and Fr. Grzegorz Rys, 59, archbishop of Lodz, Poland.
Fr. Emil Paul Tscherrig, 76, a Swiss prelate who is the first non-Italian to serve as papal ambassador to Italy and San Marino; and Fr. Christopher Louis Yves Pierre, 77, a Frenchman whose diplomatic postings included Washington, D.C.
Fr. Angel Sixto Rossi, 64, a Jesuit who is archbishop of his native Cordoba, Argentina; Fr. Jose Cobo Cano, 57, who was just appointed last month by Francis to be archbishop of Madrid; and the Rev. Angel Fernández Artime, 62, a Spaniard who is rector major of the Salesians, a congregation devoted to edutiong the youth and which is present in 133 countries.
Chicago-born Monsignor Robert Francis Prevost, 67, who heads the Dicastery for Bishops; and Monsignor Claudio Gugerotti, 67, an Italian in charge of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches.
Archbishop from La Plata, Argentina, Victor Manuel Fernández, 59, whom the pope recently named to lead the Holy See's powerful office for ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy and overseeing processing of allegations of sexual abuse against clergy worldwide. His nomination was met with caution. A U.S-based group that tracks how the Catholic hierarchy deals with allegations of sexual abuse by clergy says Francis made a “troubling” choice in picking the Argentine archbishop, who, in 2019, refused to believe victims who accused a priest in that archdiocese of sexually abusing boys.
Hong Kong Bishop Stephen Sau-yan Chow, 64, and the Vatican’s top official in the Middle East, Monsignor Pierbattista Pizzaballa, 58, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Three of the 21 new cardinals are 80 or older and thus not eligible to vote in a conclave. They are Italian prelate, Agostino Marchetto, 82, who served as the top Vatican diplomat in Belarus, Madagascar, Mauritius and Tanzania; Fr. Diego Rafael Padron Sanchez, 84, archbishop emeritus of Cumana, Venezuela; and a Franciscan priest, Luis Pascual Dri, 96, famed for hearing confessions in the pope's native Buenos Aires and who has been praised by Francis for his stress on mercy.
Francis has now named nine batches of new cardinals in his 10-year papacy. Even before this latest group, he had already appointed the large majority of those eligible to elect the next pontiff — those aged under 80. With the latest appointments, the number of cardinals who meet that condition stands at 137.