Vatican Radio yesterday reported that following his regular Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis announced that an Ordinary Public Consistory would be held on February 22nd to create new members of the College of Cardinals. The Holy Father announced that 19 new cardinals would be created, with 16 of them being under the age of 80, and therefore would be eligible to vote in a conclave for Pope Francis' successor.
"I will have the joy of holding a Consistory, during which I will name 16 new Cardinals, who, coming from 12 countries from every part of the world, represent the deep ecclesial relationship between the Church of Rome and the other Churches throughout the world," the Pope said. "The following day [February 23] I will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new Cardinals, while on February 20 and 21 I will hold a Consistory with all the Cardinals to reflect on the theme of the family."
Some of the names are to be expected, such as Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Műller, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, who was originally appointed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
A number of the new cardinals come from Latin America and the Third World, and a few of them are surprising appointments. Archbishop Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano of Managua, Nicaragua is among those being given red birettas, as is Mario Aurelio Poli, the Pope's immediate successor as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast and Bishop Chibly Langlois of Les Cayes in Haiti will give people of African and Franco-African background greater representation in the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia.
No new cardinals have been appointed from the United States for Pope Francis' first consistory.