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Pope Francis announces 20 new cardinals from over a dozen different nations

The new Cardinals come from a variety of countries, including Myanmar, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

By
Fred Lambert
Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) Christmas Day message from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on December 25, 2014. On Sunday, January 4, 2015, the Pope announced 20 bishops to be made cardinals in the Catholic Church, all coming from over a dozen different countries. UPI/Stefano Spaziari
Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) Christmas Day message from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on December 25, 2014. On Sunday, January 4, 2015, the Pope announced 20 bishops to be made cardinals in the Catholic Church, all coming from over a dozen different countries. UPI/Stefano Spaziari | License Photo

VATICAN CITY, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Pope Francis announced Sunday the names of 20 archbishops and bishops from over a dozen nations who will be made cardinals next month.

The pontiff made the announcement in Vatican City, saying 15 men would be elevated to the Cardinalate on Feb. 14, along with another five retired archbishops and bishops who will be promoted to the same position.

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Pope Francis said the men, "coming from 14 countries from every continent, manifest the indissoluble links between the Church of Rome and the particular Churches present in the world," according to Vatican Radio.

The newly announced cardinals come from countries such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Thailand, Uruguay, Mexico, Panama, New Zealand, Spain and Italy. One is from the Archipelago of Cape Verde and another from the Island of Tonga, tiny island nations near Africa and Polynesia.

"Additionally, I will join to the members of the College of Cardinals five archbishops and bishops Emeriti who are distinguished for their pastoral charity in the service of the Holy See and of the Church," Pope Francis said.

Cardinals are considered senior figures in the church who assist the pope with governance, setting the tone of the church and electing a new pontiff. The five retired bishops are over age 80 and cannot take part in papal elections, but the 15 other additions are considered by some analysts to be a move toward more inclusion.

CNN senior Vatican analyst John L. Allen said the new cardinals come from "typically overlooked places."

"This is a pope who very much wants to reach out to people on the margins, and you clearly see that in this set," Allen said.

BBC's Religious Affairs Correspondent Caroline Wyatt points out that appointing cardinals is the most powerful way for the Pope to shape the Catholic Church, and that Pope Francis has now chosen over a quarter of all cardinals able to vote for the next Pope.

"On Sunday February 15 I will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new cardinals, while on February 12 and 13 I will hold a Consistory with all the cardinals to reflect on the orientations and proposals for the reform of the Roman Curia," Pope Francis said.

The Roman Curia is the governing body of the Holy See.

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