Only a few days remain until Pope Francis' ninth consistory for the creation of new cardinals, set for September 30, a few days before the start of the first session of the Synodof Bishops on synodality.
With the new creations, the number of cardinal electors - who will have the right to vote in an eventual conclave because they are not yet 80 years old - will be 137, while the non-electors (over 80 years of age) will rise to 105, for a total of 241 cardinals. By the end of 2023, however, five cardinals will be 80 years old.
The new birettas will be given to 21 new collaborators of the Pontiff, from various backgrounds - mainly suburban territories - to represent "the universality of the Church, which continues to proclaim God's merciful love to all people on earth," Pope Francis explained in the announcement made in early July.
On September 30, therefore, will receive the cardinal dignity the prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, the American Robert Francis Prevost, who was in mission lands in Hispanic America; the prefect of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches, the Italian Claudio Gugerotti, former nuncio in Ukraine from 2015 to 2020 and previously in other countries of Eastern Christian tradition; the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Argentinian Víctor Manuel Fernández, a renowned theologian very close to the Holy Father, who within the Argentine Episcopal Conference has served as president of the Faith and Culture Commission.
Francis has also decided to grant the purple to the Swiss apostolic nuncio Emil Paul Tscherrig, with experience in several African countries, but also in South Korea and Mongolia, before moving on to the Nordic countries, Argentina and finally Italy; to the French nuncio Christophe Louis Georges Pierre, who had his first assignment in 1977 in Wellington, New Zealand, and then in Mozambique, Cuba, Haiti, Uganda and the United States, among other countries.
Also receiving the red biretta will be the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, an Italian from Bergamo, who joined the Custody of the Holy Land in 1999, also serving as Vicar General of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem for the pastoral care of Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel; the Archbishop of Cape Town (Kaapstad), Stephen Brislin, born in Welkom in South Africa in 1956 and until 2019 president of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference; the Archbishop of Cordoba in Argentina, Angel Sixto Rossi, a Jesuit, expert in spiritual discernment of St. Ignatius and preacher of numerous Ignatian spiritual exercises to groups of priests, religious and lay people.
Other archbishops to be created cardinals are that of Bogota, Luis José Rueda Aparicio, originally from San Gil (Santander), elected in 2021 president of the Colombian Episcopal Conference until 2024; that of Łódź, Grzegorz Ryś, born in Krakow, who in 2019 introduced the permanent diaconate in his archdiocese and created the Diocesan Missionary Seminary of the Neocatechumenal Way; that of Juba, Stephem Ameyu Mulla, born in Sudan in 1964 and doctorate from the Pontifical Urbaniana University with a thesis on religious dialogue and reconciliation in Sudan; the first years he was also rector of the seminary of the capital.
Cardinal dignity also for the current archbishop of Madrid, the Andalusian José Cobo Cano, always at the pastoral service of the capital of Spain, auxiliary bishop since 2017 and previously responsible for the Secretariat for Migration and Social Pastoral and Human Promotion; for the coadjutor archbishop of Tabora, in Tanzania, Protase Rugambwa, who in recent years was first assistant secretary and then secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and president of the Pontifical Mission Societies. And for the Bishops of Penang (Mali), Sebastian Francis; of Hong Kong, Stephen Chow Sau-yan, S. J.; of Ajaccio, Bishop François-Xavier Bustillo; the Auxiliary Bishop of Lisbon, Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar and the Rector Major of the Salesians, Father Ángel Fernández Artime.
Pope Francis has also decided to add to the College of Cardinals two archbishops and one religious who have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church: Apostolic Nuncio Agostino Marchetto, described by the Pontiff as "the greatest hermeneutic of the Second Vatican Council"; Archbishop Emeritus of Cumaná, Venezuela, Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez; and the confessor of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Buenos Aires, Luis Pascual Dri, OFM Cap.
The new cardinals will be present with the Holy Father at the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on October 4 at 9:00 a.m. in St. Peter's Square. The ceremony will be followed immediately by courtesy visits, with individual greetings to the faithful.