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Pope picks 15 new cardinals to reflect diversity

world Updated: Jan 05, 2015 01:47 IST
Pope Francis

Pope Francis named 15 new cardinals on Sunday, selecting them from 14 nations, including far-flung corners of the world such as Tonga, New Zealand, Cape Verde and Myanmar, to reflect the diversity of the church and its growth in places like Asia and Africa.

Other cardinals hail from Ethiopia, Thailand and Vietnam. Another is from Sicily, where the church in recent decades has been galvanising public rejection of the Mafia.

Referring to the Vatican, Francis told faithful in St. Peter's Square that the churchmen come "from every continent" and "show the indelible tie with the church of Rome to churches in the world."

In addition to the 15 new cardinals who are under 80 and thus eligible to vote for the next pope, Francis bestowed the honour on five churchmen older than that. He said they distinguished themselves for their work in the Vatican bureaucracy, in diplomatic service in giving witness to their love of Christ and God's people.

Francis has been using his papacy, which began in March 2013, to root out corruption, inefficiency and other problems in the curia.