Unless his reign is short, a Roman Catholic pontiff will appoint most of the men who choose his successor. But Pope Francis’ additions to the College of Cardinals since his election in 2013 also have served another purpose – tilting the leadership structure of the Roman Catholic Church away from its historic European base and toward the global south.
Only three of the 13 voting members of the newest cardinal-designates (those younger than 80), who will be elevated to their positions on Nov. 19, are from Europe. Three others hail from countries in Latin America (Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela), three from North America (the United States), two from sub-Saharan Africa (Central African Republic and Mauritius), and two from the Asia-Pacific region (Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea).
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