In a further sign that Pope Francis is intent on shaping a Church that looks like the world, the pontiff announced today the selection of 20 new cardinals from 18 different countries, including several from Asia, Africa and Oceania.
Others hail from Portugal, Italy, France, Mexico, Uruguay. Spain, Panama, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam and Ethiopia. Only one of them, a Moroccan native, is drawn from the Vatican bureaucracy.
The new cardinals come from "every continent, to manifest the indissoluble links between the Church of Rome and the particular churches present in the world," the pope said in the announcement at his weekly prayer and blessing in St. Peter's Square.
The new picks will be installed on Feb. 14.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said no cardinals were chosen from North America because the region is already well represented. He also said the pope does not feel chained to the tradition that major cities must automatically have cardinals to lead them.