Pope Francis names 21 cardinals, including clergymen from Hong Kong, US

This will be the ninth consistory the pope has called during his papacy.

July 9, 2023, 7:25 PM

Pope Francis announced Sunday he's elevating 21 clergymen from around the world to become cardinals in a ceremony later this year.

The pope made the announcement during his noontime Sunday prayer from St. Peter's Square, saying the ceremony will be held on Sept. 30.

In his decade-long tenure as pope, this will be his ninth consistory.

The new cardinals come from countries including the United States, Italy, Argentina, Switzerland, South Africa, Spain, Colombia, South Sudan, Hong Kong, Poland, Malaysia, Tanzania and Portugal.

"Let us pray for the new Cardinals, so that, confirming their adhesion to Christ, the merciful and faithful High Priest, they might help me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome for the good of the entire Holy People faithful to God," Francis said during Sunday's service, according to Vatican News.

Following tensions between Hong Kong and the Catholic Church, the pope picked Bishop Stephen Chow of Hong Kong as one of the men to become cardinal.

In the past few years, Hong Kong has criticized the Vatican's deal with China on the appointment of Chinese bishops, according to the Associated Press.

PHOTO: Pope Francis waves as he addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St.Peter's square during his Angelus prayer at the Vatican on July 9, 2023.
Pope Francis waves as he addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St.Peter's square during his Angelus prayer at the Vatican on July 9, 2023.
Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s Catholic cardinal, Joseph Zen, has said the agreement is a betrayal for pro-Vatican Catholics and the clergy who has faced persecution in China, according to the AP.

Zen was arrested and convicted by Hong Kong authorities last year for not registering a fund that helped people who were arrested during protests in Hong Kong, the AP reported.

The Vatican also named Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, a top official in Jerusalem, which has a small catholic community, to become a cardinal.

The pope named Archbishop Christophe Pierre, from the U.S., as a cardinal-elect. It's rare to see a papal representative from the U.S. become a cardinal.

Last year, Pope Francis elevated Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, California, to cardinal during his August consistory. McElroy was one of 20 Vatican-appointed cardinals who was elevated in 2022.

McElroy, considered a progressive in the church, has criticized bishops in the U.S. for denying holy communion to politicians who support abortion rights. He also signed a statement, alongside other bishops, supporting LGBTQIA youth.

After the ceremony, there will be 137 cardinal electors -- all under 80 years old -- who will be able to enter a conclave to choose the next pope.

The full list of new cardinal electors:

  • Archbishop Robert Prevost, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops;
  • Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches;
  • Archbishop Víctor Fernández, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith;
  • Archbishop Emil Tscherrig, retired apostolic nuncio
  • Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S.;
  • Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem;
  • Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Archbishop Ángel Sixto, Archbishop of Córdoba, Argentina;
  • Archbishop Luis José Rueda Aparicio of Bogotá, Colombia;
  • Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś, Archbishop of Łódź, Poland;
  • Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, Archbishop of Juba, South Sudan;
  • Archbishop José Cobo Cano, Archbishop of Madrid;
  • Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, coadjutor Archbishop of Tabora, Tanzania;
  • Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, Malaysia;
  • Bishop Stephen Chow, Bishop of Hong Kong;
  • Bishop François-Xavier Bustillo, bishop of Ajaccio, France;
  • Bishop Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar, auxiliary bishop of Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, Superior General of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

ABC News' Melissa Adan and Matthew Vann contributed to this report.

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