Pope Francis has named 17 new cardinals of the Catholic Church, including 13 who are under the age of 80 years of age and are eligible to vote to elect his successor when he resigns or dies, BBC says.
Francis said on Sunday during his weekly address that the ceremony to elevate the prelates, known as a consistory, would be held on November 19.
Archbishop Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria, is one of those named as one of the Catholic church’s new cardinals.
The new cardinals are mainly from developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The appointments on Sunday emphasise the growing influence at the Vatican of clerics from the developing world.
Only one of the new cardinals is from Italy, the nation that has dominated church politics for centuries.
“Their provenance from 11 nations expresses the universality of the church that announces and is witness to the good news of the mercy of God in every corner of the world,” Francis said.
Pope Francis, who celebrates his 80th birthday in December, is putting down important markers for the future of the Catholic Church.
Three of those named are American, his first promotions of US clerics to key positions in the church.
They include the recently appointed archbishops of Chicago and Indianapolis.
The new cardinal-electors, those under 80, come from Italy, the Central African Republic, Spain, the US, Brazil, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Belgium, Mauritius, Mexico and Papua New Guinea.
The move reflects the success of Pope Francis’ first visit to North America last year.
Cardinals are the most senior members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy after the pope.
It is the third time Pope Francis has appointed new cardinals since his election in 2013 as the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church.