Pope Francis names 13 new cardinals

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Pope Francis has announced the appointment of 13 new cardinals on Sunday, including archbishops from the U.S., Rwanda and the Philippines.

Among others, on a special note, the list of the new cardinals includes Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who is set to become the first black US prelate to earn the rank, and Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, an Italian priest who is a long-time papal preacher at the Vatican.

The Vatican has been on high alert over the health of the pope, 83, after a flurry of cases within the tiny city state, and such a ceremony could present risks for elderly participants.

According to a statement from the Vatican, nine of the new cardinals are younger than 80 and have the right to participate in a future conclave (a secret meeting where cardinals elect the next Pope).

Churchmen over 80 who are named cardinals are chosen to honor their life of service to the church.

The 13 new cardinals will be elevated to the high rank at a ceremony known as a consistory at the Vatican on November 28, and the selection of more cardinal electors increases the possibility that the next pope will be someone who will continue Francis' policies.


Gregory was picked by Francis to lead the prestigious diocese in the USA capital a year ago.

Archbishop Gregory is one of 13 to be elevated to the rank at a surprise consistory, or ceremony.

The pope said the new crop of cardinals have all shown dedication to "the missionary vocation of the Church that continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all men and women of the earth".

Gregory's appointment follows a tradition of Washington archbishops receiving appointments since it became an independent diocese in 1947, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A native of Chicago, Gregory was ordained in 1973.

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