Pope Francis has named his first batch of cardinals, choosing 19 men from Asia, Africa, North and South America and elsewhere, including Haiti and Burkino Faso, to reflect his attention to the poor. Francis made the announcement today as he spoke from his studio window to a crowd in St. Peter's Square. Sixteen of the appointees are younger than 80, meaning they are eligible to elect the next pope, which is a cardinal's most important task. The ceremony to formally install them as cardinals will be held Feb. 22 at the Vatican.
Some appointments were expected, including that of his new secretary of state, the Italian archbishop Pietro Parolin, and the German head of the Vatican's watchdog office for doctrinal orthodoxy, Gerhard Ludwig Mueller. But some names were surprising. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope's selection of churchmen from Haiti and Burkino Faso, which are among the world's poorest nations, reflects Francis' attention to the destitute as a core part of the church's mission. Francis also chose Mario Aurelio Poli, who serves in Francis' old post as archbishop of Buenos Aires. His selections also came from Managua, Nicaragua; Santiago, Chile; Rio de Janeiro; Seoul, South Korea; and Britain's archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols. In a sentimental touch, the three men too old to vote for the next pope include 98-year-old Monsignor Loris Francesco Capovilla, who served as personal secretary to Pope John XXIII. The AP has a complete list of the 19 men here. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)