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Pope Francis is brought to the 2023 consistory of cardinals in his wheelchair.Michael Haynes/LifeSiteNews

Pledge your prayers and fasting for protection of the Church during the Synod on Synodality HERE

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) –– Pope Francis today created 21 new cardinals at a public consistory in St. Peter’s Square, with the new prefect of the Dicastery (formerly Congregation) for the Doctrine of the Faith amongst them.

On the morning of September 30, 21 new cardinals received their red zucchetto’s and birettas from Pope Francis. In a slight peculiarity, one of the 21 was not physically present. Cardinal Luis Pascual Dri, a 96-year-old Franciscan, was unable to leave his native Argentina for Rome due to health reasons.

The new cardinals process up to the Pope, at the September 2023 consistory.
Cdl. Prevost greets the Pope on behalf of the new cardinals.

The ceremony, held in St. Peter’s Square rather than inside the Basilica, was attended by some couple hundred of people, with notable space in the Square. 

Ecumenical delegates were also in attendance, afforded a prominent position on the Epistle (right) side of the Altar. 

The new cardinals prior to receiving the zuchetto and biretta.
Seminarians bring the zucchetto’s and biretta’s to the Pope for the new cardinals

Addressing the new cardinals, Pope Francis highlighted the theme of synodality, instructing them that “the College of Cardinals is called to resemble a symphony orchestra, representing the harmony and synodality of the Church.” 

“I also say ‘synodality,’ not only because we are on the eve of the first Assembly of the Synod that has precisely this theme, but also because it seems to me that the metaphor of the orchestra can well illuminate the synodal character of the Church,” said Francis. 

“Diversity is necessary; it is indispensable,” he continued, employing the imagery of an orchestra conductor who must “listen more than anyone else, and at the same time his job is to help each person and the whole orchestra develop the greatest creative fidelity: fidelity to the work being performed, but also creative, able to give a soul to the score, to make it resonate in the here and now in a unique way.”

MC’s discuss the proceedings, next to the table bearing the new birettas

The cardinals recited in unison the Creed, prior to receiving their scarlet insignia. They also swore, by name, to “remain faithful to Christ and His Gospel, constantly obedient to the Holy and Apostolic Roman Church, to Blessed Peter in the person of the Supreme Pontiff Francis and of his canonically elected successors.”

The weighty oath continued, with the cardinals promising

to preserve always by word and deed communion with the Catholic Church; to manifest to no one what shall have been entrusted to me to guard, and the revelation of which could cause harm or dishonor to the Holy Church; to perform with great diligence and fidelity the tasks to which I am called in my service to the Church, according to the norms of law. So help me Almighty God.

Kneeling before the Pope one by one, the new cardinals received from him the zucchetto, followed by the biretta, before then accepting their cardinal’s ring and the charge of a church in Rome, as is customary for every cardinal.  

Cdl. Fernández receives his biretta from Pope Francis

The new cardinals are as follows:

  • Robert Francis Prevost, OSA. Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops
  • S.E. Mons. Claudio Gugerotti: Prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches
  • Víctor Manuel Fernández: Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith
  • Emil Paul Tscherrig: Nuncio to Italy
  • Christophe Louis Yves Georges Pierre: Nuncio to the U.S.
  • Pierbattista Pizzaballa: Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
  • Stephen Brislin: Archbishop of Cape Town.
  • Ángel Sixto Rossi, S.J.:  Archbishop of Córdoba.
  • Luis José Rueda Aparicio: Archbishop of Bogotá.
  • Grzegorz Ryś: Archbishop of Łódź.
  • Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla: Archbishop of Juba
  • José Cobo Cano: Archbishop of Madrid.
  • Protase Rugambwa: Coadjutor Archbishop of Tabora.
  • Sebastian Francis: Bishop of Penang.
  • Stephen Chow Sau-Yan, S.J.: Bishop of Hong Kong. 
  • Ángel Fernández Artime: Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation.
  • François-Xavier Bustillo: Bishop of Ajaccio.
  • Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar: Bishop of Setúbal.
  • Agostino Marchetto: retired nuncio. 
  • Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez: Archbishop emeritus of Cumaná.
  • Luis Pascual Dri: priest and confessor.

As LifeSite has previously reported when profiling the new cardinals, 18 of the 21 are under the conclave voting age limit of 80.

Following today’s consistory, there are now 242 cardinals in total, with 137 being of voting age, that is, under 80 years old. Pope Francis has held 9 consistories in his pontificate, meaning that of these 137 voters, 99 cardinals of voting rights have now been created by Francis.

However, while there are 137 total voters as of September 30, this number will start to drop as early as October 1, as cardinals reach the age of 80. 

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Incoming Hong Kong cardinal highlights ‘dialogue’ between Vatican and Communist China

Some five cardinals will turn 80 by the end of 2023, with another 10 cardinals turning 80 by this time next year, including some notable names: Cardinal Ladaria – recently replaced prefect of the DDF; Cdl. Ouellet – recently replaced former prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops; Cdl. Sean O’Malley – head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; Cdl. Mauro Piacenza – head of the Apostolic Penitentiary. 

Cdl. Fernández greets the members of the College of Cardinals
Cdl. Chow greets members of the College of Cardinals

The limit of cardinal voters set by Pope Paul VI is 120, though it has become common practice to regularly exceed that limit in consistories with the anticipation of cardinals aging out of being able to vote within the next year.

Another interesting aspect is that after today’s consistory, there are total of 6 Jesuit cardinals with voting rights, the most amount of voting cardinals from any religious congregation.

Following the ceremony, journalists and attendants at the consistory took part in the customary greeting to the new cardinals, which was held in the Apostolic Palace.

LifeSite was able to speak to Cardinal Fernández, the controversial new prefect of the Vatican’s doctrinal and disciplinary office – the DDF. A full report on LifeSite’s interview with the new cardinal will be published in the coming days. 

Pledge your prayers and fasting for protection of the Church during the Synod on Synodality HERE