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Pope installs new cardinals, puts another stamp on Church future

File photo of Pope Francis. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Vatican City Oct 05, 2019, 10.14 PM (IST)

Pope Francis installed new cardinals on Saturday, putting his stamp on the future of the Roman Catholic Church with men who share his vision for social justice, the rights of immigrants and dialogue with Islam.

Ten of the 13 bishops elevated to the high rank are under the age of 80 and so are eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope from their ranks.

Francis has now appointed more than half of the 128 cardinal electors, increasing the possibility that the next pope will continue his progressive policies.

Over six years he has appointed more cardinal electors than those still alive who were named by former Pope Benedict and the late Pope John Paul combined.

At a ceremony in St Peter's Basilica, known as a consistory, Francis gave the new cardinals their trademark red biretta, or hat, and asked them to always be compassionate with others and loyal.

The geographical distribution of the new cardinal electors reflects Francis's desire to give more clout to small national churches outside of Europe and North America, countries on the periphery of world political power. Nearly 50 per cent of the cardinal electors now come from the developing world.