Pope Francis will create new cardinals on February 14, following a two-day meeting of the world's cardinals that will discuss reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, among other issues, reports the Catholic News Service.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, made the announcement yesterday. The names of the new cardinals are likely to be announced in mid-January, he said.
If Pope Francis respects the limit of 120 cardinals under the age of 80 and, therefore, eligible to vote for a Pope, he will have 10 such openings in February. As of December 11, the College of Cardinals had 208 members, 112 of whom were under 80.
On the same occasion, Pope Francis may also follow precedent by creating a number of cardinals over the age of 80, churchmen being honoured for their contributions to theology or other service to the Church.
In accordance with recent tradition, the Pope will bestow red hats on the new cardinals on February 14 and then celebrate Mass with them in St Peter's Basilica the next day.
His creation of new cardinals will follow a consistory or meeting of the entire College of Cardinals on February 12-13. In February this year, the Pope called such a meeting to discuss the theme of the family, as part of the preparation for the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the subject held in October.
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