Pope Francis

Cupich Not on List of New Cardinals Named by Pope Francis

Among his picks, Pope Francis chose archbishops from Myanmar, Capo Verde and Tonga, countries that have never had cardinals

Pope Francis has announced 15 new cardinals. While there had been speculation that Chicago's Archbishop Blase Cupich would be one of them, he was not included in Sunday's list.

If Cupich had been chosen, it would certainly have seemed that he was on a very fast track, considering his recent appointment as archbishop. Other American archbishops, including Jose Gomez from Los Angeles, Wilton Gregory from Atlanta and Charles Chaput from Philadelphia, have not been named cardinals either, and they have been archbishops for much longer.

Another point against Cupich is that his predecessor, Francis George, is a cardinal. It would be unusual to have two voting cardinals from the same archdiocese. While Cardinal George has retired, he will still be a voting member of the College of Cardinals until he is 80 years old. George will turn 78 in January.

There isn't much doubt that Cupich will eventually be named a cardinal, as Chicago has been a "cardinal seat" since George Mundelein in 1924.

While Cupich was not chosen as a cardinal, neither were any other American archbishops. It is the first time in 40 years that an American has not been elevated to cardinal.

Those who watch this process closely say Francis' choices are still quite surprising, and they reflect his plan to "shake up" the Vatican. Among his picks, Francis chose archbishops from Myanmar, Capo Verde and Tonga, countries that have never had cardinals before. Overall, 14 countries are represented in Francis' selection. Five are from Europe, three from Asia, three from Latin America, two from Africa and two from Oceania.

Of the 20 cardinals chosen, 15 of them are under 80 years old. The youngest cardinal is Archbishop Tafi from Tonga. He is 53 years old and has studied at Loyola University in Baltimore. The oldest standing cardinal is Archbishop Pimiento Rodriguez of Colombia, who was born in 1919. 

Those chosen by Pope Francis today will be elevated in what's known as the "red hat" ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica on Feb. 14 and 15.

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