VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Francis on Sunday named 19 new cardinals, 16 of whom will hold voting rights in the conclave that elects the pontiff.
The 16 new cardinals under the age of 80 — who can vote in the conclave — include four Italians, two from other European countries, five from South America, one North American, two Africans and two Asians.
With the geographical division of his first batch of cardinals, the pope appeared to place a greater emphasis on what he terms the “periphery” of the Roman Catholic Church at the expense of the centre.
The cardinals will be officially appointed on February 22, bringing the conclave up to 122 members.
The pope also baptised in the Sixtine Chapel 32 children including one from a single mother.