VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis named his first batch of cardinals Sunday, choosing 19 men from around the world, including the developing nations of Haiti and Burkina Faso, in line with his belief the church must pay more attention to the poor.
But advocates for victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy said they felt let down that Francis didn’t unequivocally embrace their calls that prelates who hadn’t made a clean break with past practices of covering up pedophile behavior never be promoted.
Francis read the 19 names to a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square.
Sixteen of the appointees are younger than 80, meaning they would be eligible to elect the next pope, which is a cardinal’s most important task, after the Feb. 22 ceremony to formally install them.
Since his election in March as the first pontiff from Latin America, the pope has broken tradition after tradition in terms of protocol and style at the Vatican. But in Sunday’s list, The College of Cardinals is 13 shy of the 120-mark for eligible papal voters. In addition, three cardinals will turn 80 by May, bringing the voting ranks to their exact limit.