Pope Francis Appoints New Cardinals From Wherever He Feels Like

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Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Everyone’s favorite pontiff, Pope Francis, kept the party going today by naming 20 new cardinals, 15 of whom will be eligible to elect or become his successor after his term is up. (The five guys over 80 don’t get any say.) The bishops and archbishops set to join the College of Cardinals hail from 18 countries, including Italy, France, Portugal, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Mexico, Myanmar, Thailand, Uruguay, Spain, Panama, Cape Verde, and Tonga. Vatican officials pointed out that nine of those places are developing countries, while three — Myanmar, Tonga, and Cape Verde — have never had a cardinal before. (The nations most heavily represented in the College of Cardinals are Italy and the United States.)

While addressing the crowd at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Francis said that his choices represent “every continent, to manifest the indissoluble links between the Church of Rome and the particular churches present in the world.” “The pope doesn’t feel tied to the traditional ‘cardinal sees,’ which reflected historic reasons in various countries,” explained Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, just in case it wasn’t clear that Francis is the (relatively) cool pope.