Here are 10 things you may not know about the 20 Catholic Cardinalates created yesterday in Rome by Pope Francis. The Pontiff announced 21 cardinals in May but formally enthroned 20 yesterday, 27 August 2022, at the Consistory in Rome.

These appointments mark a strategic change in the Church hierarchy and position his appointees to influence who succeeds the current Pontiff. His eligible appointees make up 63 percent of electors at the next conclave.

Here are the significant things to note about the appointees:

  1. The Pope eventually created 20 of the cardinalates announced in May as one of the appointees declined the offer. Bishop Lucas Van Looy, who is the bishop emeritus of Ghent, Belgium, asked Pope Francis to exempt him from the cardinalate following a controversy caused by his appointment.
  2. When convened, only cardinals under the age of 80 attend Papal Conclave. Sixteen of the 20 cardinalates created yesterday are eligible to participate in the Conclave (see list below).
  3. There are more cardinals from outside Europe and North America, indicating more recognition of the growth of the Church outside the western hemisphere.
  4. Brazil and India have two cardinals each from the Cardinalates created yesterday.
  5. Paraguay, Singapore, and East Timor gained cardinals for the first time in this appointment.
  6. The Pope appointed five simple Bishops, rather than Archbishops, including Nigeria’s Bishop Okpaleke.
  7. Pope Francis has set yet another precedent by appointing simple Bishops to the College of Cardinals. Only archbishops hitherto qualified to the cardinalate.
  8. Pope Francis has now created 83 cardinals who will vote for his successor since ascending the Throne of Saint Peter. They represent 63 percent of the electors altogether.
  9. As at today, there are 132 cardinals that are eligible to vote for the next Pope.
  10. These appointments create a level playing ground for election of a new pope, as almost every country with a major Catholic population will have a vote at the next conclave.

New Eligible Cardinalates

There are 15 new cardinals that are eligible to vote at the next conclave to appoint a new when Pope Francis completes his assignment. They range in ages between 47 years (Mongolia) and 77 years (Spain). They include the following: