Pope surprises the Church with elevation of outsiders
Pope Francis is to elevate five Catholic clerics from outside Italy and the Vatican to the rank of cardinal, the elite group of churchmen who are his closest advisers and can enter a conclave to choose his successor.
The Pope made the surprise announcement during his weekly Sunday address in Rome yesterday. The five come from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos and El Salvador. The fact that none of the five is Italian and none holds Vatican positions underscores the Pope's conviction that the Church is a global institution that should become increasingly less Italian-centric.