Vatican News

  • Vatican City, May 26, 2017 / 04:32 am (CNA/EWTN News ).- On Friday the Vatican announced that Bishop Angelo de Donatis had been chosen by Pope Francis as the new Vicar of Rome, who will oversee the administrative needs of the Roman diocese, including her clergy. In addition to naming him Vicar of Rome, Francis also named Donatis an archbishop, according to the May 26 Vatican communique on the announcement. He will be taking over for Cardinal Agostino Vallini, who has held the position since 2008, under Benedict XVI. Currently also a member of the Council for the Economy established by Pope Francis in 2014, Vallini previously served as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from 2004 until his appointment as Vicar of Rome. Bishop Donatis was born in Casarano, in the Nardo-Gallipoli province of Italy, in 1954 and served as a priest for the diocese until the early 1980s, when he was incardinated as a priest in Rome. Well known and loved among Romans and expats alike, Donatis was appointed an auxiliary bishop for Rome by Pope Francis in 2015. While the Pope is the official Bishop of Rome, the Cardinal Vicar is hand-picked by the Pope after consulting with priests, bishops and cardinals who serve in and around Rome, and is charged with the spiritual administration of the diocese. According to canon law, every Catholic diocese must have at least one or more vicar generals, however, the Vicar of Rome serves more as a de facto bishop due to the Popes heavy workload with his various responsibilities and commitments. The man who holds the position also serves as the Archpriest for the papal Basilica of St. John Lateran. A decree instituted by Pope Paul IV in 1558 also holds that the Vicar of Rome must be a cardinal. Since Pope Francis has already named him as an archbishop, its likely Donatis could be added to the list of 5 prelates who will get a red hat during the June 28 consistory. There is also a Vicar General for the Vatican City State, who is the Archpriest of St. Peters Basilica and is charged with looking after the spiritual needs of the small country. This position is currently held by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who was tapped for the role by Benedict XVI in 2005. Donatis, after working in various parishes throughout Rome, was in 1990 named Director of the Office of the Clergy for the Diocese of Rome, a position he held until 1996. He was then named as Spiritual Director at the Pontifical Roman Seminary. Since 2003 he has served as the parish priest for St. Mark the Evangelist parish, located near Romes famous Piazza Venezia, and was also named the Assistant for the diocese of Romes National Association for the Family of Clergy. In 2014 Pope Francis tapped Donatis to preach the Lenten spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia during their weeklong retreat in Ariccia. A year later he was named auxiliary bishop. After the conclusion of their spiritual exercises in 2014, Pope Francis thanked Donatis for accompanying the Curia and for planting the seed of the Word of God in their hearts. The Lord will seed the rain and that seed will grow and bear fruit, he said, but added, we must also thank the sower, no? Because you were the sower and you know how to do it! Donatis was ordained a bishop by Pope Francis himself, who during the liturgy connected the ordination to the opening of the Jubilee of Mercy, which at the time was still a month away. At the beginning of the year of Mercy I ask you as a brother to be merciful, Francis said, adding that the world needs mercy so much. Teach priests and seminarians the path of mercy; with words, but also with your attitude. The mercy of the Father which is always placed in the heart, never hurts anyone, he said, adding that this is what I wish for you: mercy. Donatis chose as his episcopal motto the phrase: Nihil Caritate dulcius, meaning Nothing is sweeter than love. His coat of arms includes a shield bearing the image of the lion of St. Mark the Evangelist at the top right, named for the parish he has led since 2003, on top of the color red, symbolizing both blood and love. Below the shield is a pomegranate the fruit that in the Bible is a symbol of the blood poured out by Christ and the martyrs. The background of the image is silver in reference to the purity and transparency of the Virgin Mary, to whom Donatis entrusted his episcopal ministry.
  • Vatican City, May 24, 2017 / 08:39 am (CNA/EWTN News ).- On Wednesday Pope Francis said that no matter what trials we might face, we have hope because Jesus is always by our side, just like he was for the disciples on the road to Emmaus. All of us, in our lives, have had difficult, dark times; moments in which we have walked sad, thoughtful, without horizons and (with) only a wall in front, Pope Francis said May 24. However, even in these moments Jesus is always beside us to give us hope, warm the heart and say, Go ahead, Im with you. Go ahead, the Pope said, adding that the secret of the road leading to Emmaus is all here: even through unfavorable appearances, we continue to be loved. The Pope met with thousands of pilgrims in St. Peters Square for his weekly general audience, immediately following his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. Francis said that no matter what, God always wants the best for us and will walk with us. Even in the most painful moments, even in the worst moments, even in moments of defeat: the Lord is there. And this is our hope. Lets go ahead with that hope! Because he is next to us and walks with us always! The Pope reflected on hope as it is found in the story of Christs appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, when they feel sad, discouraged and defeated because Jesus has been killed, but they do not yet know about his Resurrection. All of their hopes from before the crucifixion have been shattered, but this is because they cultivated only human hope, Francis said. It is on this scene that Jesus appears. This scenario the road had already been important in the accounts of the Gospels, he explained, but now it will become even more, as they begin to recount the story of the Church. This encounter of Jesus with the disciples seems fortuitous, he said, in the way it resembles the many times we are carrying our own crosses or burdens of sorrow and disappointment. But Jesus joins them, even though they do not recognize him, and he begins what Pope Francis called a therapy of hope. The first step in this therapy, he said, is to ask and listen: our God is not an intrusive God. Even though he already knows the reason for the disappointment of those two, he leaves them time to be able to gauge the depth of the bitterness that he has undergone. Then, listening to their words, we hear a chorus of human existence: We hoped, butWe hoped, but. How much sadness, how many defeats, how many failures there are in each persons life! the Pope said, noting that we are all a bit like those two disciples. How many times in life we hoped, how many times we felt a step away from happiness, and then we found ourselves disappointed, he reflected. But Jesus walks with all discouraged people who go forward with head down. And walking with them, in a subtle way, he succeeds in returning hope. When he does speak to them, Jesus does it first through the Scriptures. In the Bible, you will not find stories of easy heroism, thunderous campaigns of conquest, the Pope said. True hope is never cheap: it always goes through defeats. In fact, Francis said, Jesus models this for us by not being the kind of leader that drags his people to victory by violently destroying his opponents. Instead, he takes a position of disdain himself. Later that same night, when the disciples have invited him to eat dinner with them, they recognize him when he breaks the bread, repeating the gesture of the first Eucharist. In this series of gestures, is there not the whole story of Jesus? And is there not, in every Eucharist, the sign of what the Church must be? Jesus takes us, blesses us, breaks our lives because there is no love without sacrifice and offers it to others, offers it to everyone. Jesus encounter with the disciples on the road to Emmaus is quick, he said, but in it we find the fate of the Church. He tells us that the Christian community is not locked up in a fortified citadel, but walks in its most vital environment; namely, the road. And there it meets people, with their hopes and their disappointments, sometimes heavy. The Church listens to the stories of everyone, as they emerge from the depths of personal conscience, in order then to offer the Word of Life, the testimony of love, faithful love to the end, he concluded. And then, the hearts of people return to burning hope.
  • Vatican City, May 24, 2017 / 02:48 am (CNA/EWTN News ).- After months of anticipation, Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump finally met at the Vatican Wednesday in a friendly encounter which included an emphasis on protection of life and freedom of conscience. According to a May 24 Vatican communique , Pope Francis and Trump expressed satisfaction for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favor of life, and freedom of worship and conscience. The Pope and Trump met at the Vatican May 24, at 8:30 a.m., immediately before the weekly general audience in St. Peters Square. Trump arrived to Italy May 23 after stopping in both Saudi Arabia and Israel as part of his first international trip. He is also set to attend a NATO meeting in Brussels on May 25 and a G7 summit in Sicily on May 26 before returning to the U.S. President Trump arrived to the Vatican via the side entrance by Casa Santa Marta around 8:15 a.m. and was greeted by a group of Swiss Guards in the San Damaso courtyard. After stepping out of the car, Trump and First Lady Melania greeted Archbishop Georg Ganswein and other Vatican dignitaries before entering the Apostolic Palace. Scenes as @POTUS & @FLOTUS arrive at the #Vatican to meet #PopeFrancis this morning. (pc @dibanezgut / CNA.) pic.twitter.com/Z1xCDhCySB Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) May 24, 2017 Pope Francis and Trump smiled as they sat down at the Popes desk in the papal library. Pope Francis said, Welcome! and Trump responded, Thank you very much, this is such a great honor. Smiling, Francis explained that he doesnt speak English well and needs a translator, but added that he was very happy to meet Trump. After the cameras left, the two began the private portion of their conversation, which lasted about 30 minutes. In addition to Pope Francis and Trump, only the Popes English translator, Msgr. Mark Miles, was present. During the cordial discussions, the two expressed hope for peaceful collaboration between the government and the Catholic Church in the United States, that it may be engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants, a Vatican communique on the meeting said. Pope Francis and President Trump also exchanged views on various themes relating to international affairs, the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities. After their formal conversation, gifts were exchanged between Francis and Trump. There were 12 people in the presidents entourage, including his wife Melania and his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, both of whom are advisors in his administration. Also present for the meeting with Pope Francis were U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs H.R. McMaster, and Louis Bono, American Charg dAffaires ad interim to the Holy See until Calista Gingrich us officially approved as ambassador. Pope Francis gave Trump a copy of his environmental encyclical Laudato Si, as well as copies of his 2015 Apostolic Exhortation on the family Amoris Laetitia and his 2013 exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. In addition to the customary gift of these three documents, Francis also gave President Trump a copy of his message for the 2017 World Day of Peace, saying: I signed it personally for you. Trump responded that he would be reading them. The Pope also gifted the U.S. president with a medallion he said symbolized peace and unity, which, after the translator explained in English, he added in Spanish: Have it so that you become an instrument of peace. In response, Trump said that we can use peace. #PopeFrancis says his desire is that @POTUS be an olive tree of peace. See the full exchange:@cnalive @EWTN pic.twitter.com/GEa11kf0o2 Alan Holdren (@AlanHoldren) May 24, 2017 On his part, President Trump gifted Pope Francis a set of books by Martin Luther King, Jr., saying: I think youll enjoy them, I hope you do. Members of the delegation each received a medal and a rosary from the pontiff. When greeting Francis, First Lady Melania told him that she would afterward be visiting the hospital. Joking, the Pope asked her if they had given her potica, a traditional Slovenian dessert, to eat, to which she responded, yes, potica, as they both laughed. Departing with a handshake, Trump said to Francis: Thank you, thank you, I wont forget what you said. The Trump family visiting the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica this morning. Copyright LOsservatore Romano pic.twitter.com/zT2oyHqr0f Alan Holdren (@AlanHoldren) May 24, 2017 After meeting with Pope Francis, Trump met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, as is customary for heads of state. Pope Francis went immediately to begin the Wednesday general audience with thousands of pilgrims in St. Peters Square. After the meeting, First Lady Melania paid a visit to the Vatican-owned Pediatric hospital Bambino Gesu, also known as the Popes hospital. Bambino Gesu sits next to the Pontifical North American College on top of Romes Gianicolo hill, and is among the most important pediatric hospitals in the world. Founded in 1869 by the Duchess Arabella Salviati, the hospital was donated to Pius XI in 1924, with the aim of giving it a more stable future. At the same time, Trumps daughter and high-profile adviser, Ivanka, made her way to the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere to meet with the Community of SantEgidio to discuss efforts to oppose human trafficking. The SantEgidio Community is often praised by Pope Francis for their work with the poor and refugees, in particular. Ivanka is participating in each of the seven days of Trumps first trip abroad as president, and was also present for the public portion of his meeting with Francis. Before leaving with her father on his first international tour, Ivanka hosted an anti-human trafficking roundtable discussion at the White House May 17. During her meeting with SantEgidio, she is expected to meet with several women who are victims of trafficking, and discuss various ways in which the Church and the U.S. government can collaborate on the issue. This article was updated at 12:12 p.m. local time in Rome with information from the official Vatican communique.
  • Vatican City, May 23, 2017 / 11:19 am (CNA/EWTN News ).- Women who are consecrated to God live the prophecy of joy, and this authentic joy is their most credible witness, Pope Francis told leaders of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master on Monday. The world today is in need of this: that joy that arises from the encounter with Christ in a life of personal and community prayer, in daily listening to the Word, in the encounter with brothers and sisters, in a happy fraternal life in the community, including fragility, and in the embrace of the flesh of Christ in the poor. Prophets of a joy that is born of feeling loved and therefore forgiven, he said May 22. Joy is a beautiful reality in the life of many consecrated persons, but it is also a great challenge for all of us, he said, adding authentic joy, not self-referential or complacent, is the most credible witness of a full life. The Pope addressed an audience of sisters gathered in Rome in recent weeks for the 9th General Chapter of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master. The general chapter has elected its new superior general and other leaders. He emphasized his point about joy, saying this joy that fills your hearts and manifests itself on your faces will lead you to go out to the peripheries, participating in the joy of the Church, that is evangelization. But to do this there must be a true joy, not counterfeit joy. Do not falsify joy. Evangelization, when you are convinced that Jesus is the Good News, is joy and gladness for all. This joy drives away the cancer of resignation, fruit of the lethargy that withers the soul, he added. He voiced hope that the sisters lives shall bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the master of diversity and unity. He encouraged them to tirelessly weave unity in legitimate differences, taking account also of the fact that you are present in different countries and cultures. Pope Francis advocated a cultivation of care and reciprocal acceptance; practicing fraternal correction and respect for weaker sisters, and banishing from the community all divisions, envy, gossip; saying this with frankness and charity. The Sister Disciples of the Divine Master were founded in Italy 1924 by Blessed Fr. Giacomo Alberione and Mother Scholastica. The Pope noted the sisters mission of bringing to the men and women of our time the Gospel, particularly through liturgical service and caring for priests. He encouraged them to cultivate dialogue and communion with other charisms and to combat any form of self-centeredness. It is ugly when a consecrated man or woman is self-centered, always looking at him or herself in the mirror. It is ugly, he said. He also encouraged them to show the fruits of communion with the men and women of our time. Our God is the God of history and our faith is a faith that works in history. In the questions and expectations of the men and women of today, we find important indications for our discipleship of Christ, the Pope said. He encouraged the general chapter to listen to the sisters of the congregation and to contemporary men and women. Never tire of exercising continually the art of listening and sharing, he said. In this time of great challenges, which demand of consecrated people creative fidelity, impassioned research, listening and sharing are more important than ever before, if we want our life to be fully meaningful for ourselves and for the people we meet. Pope Francis said this practice requires a climate of discernment, to recognize what belongs to the Spirit and what is contrary to Him. Before us there opens up a world of possibilities, he said. The culture in which we are immersed presents all of them as valid, all of them as good, but if we do not want to fall victim to the culture of zapping and, at times, a culture of death, we must increase our habit of discernment. He encouraged the sisters to ask two questions at both the personal and community level: Lord, what do you want me to do? What do you want us to do? The Pope warned against the dangers of a spirit of resignation, suggesting that the devil might tempt them by citing their small numbers or their few vocations and otherwise do what he can to make them have long faces. I encourage you also to be prophets of hope, with eyes turned to the future, where the Spirit pushes you, to continue to do great things with you, he said. The hope that does not disappoint is not based on numbers or works, but on Him, for Whom nothing is impossible With this trust and this strength I repeat to you: do not join the prophets of misfortune, who do great damage to the Church and to consecrated life; do not give in to the temptation of torpor like the Apostles in Gethsemane and desperation, he said. Awaken the world, illuminate the future! Always with a smile, with joy, with hope, the Pope concluded. May Mary our Mother protect you with her gaze, and the Lord bless you, show you His Face, and grant you peace and mercy.
  • Manchester, United Kingdom, May 23, 2017 / 04:16 am (CNA/EWTN News ).- After what has been deemed a terrorist attack killed 22 people mostly youth at a theater in Manchester Monday night, local Bishop John Arnold condemned the act, saying there is no justification for such violence. The citizens of Manchester and members of the Catholic community are united in condemning the attack on the crowds at the Arena. Such an attack can have no justification, Bishop Arnold said in a May 23 statement via the dioceses Twitter account. In a series of tweets, he thanked the emergency services for their prompt and speedy response which saved lives. We join in prayer for all those who have died and for the injured and their families and all affected by this tragedy. The bishop stressed that we must all commit to working together, to help the victims and their families and to build and strengthen our community solidarity. Bishop Arnold, who oversees the Salford diocese that includes Manchester, made his statement in response to an attack which took place at Manchester Arena Monday night at the end of a concert by American pop artist Ariana Grande, who is popular among teens. A bomb exploded in the foyer of the arena May 22 around 10:30 p.m. local time, as concertgoers were beginning to leave. At least 22 are dead, including children, and almost 60 are injured, according to reports. The lone attacker was also killed in the blast, police say. He is believed to have been carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated to cause the explosion, according to Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, although authorities have not yet confirmed any concrete link between the attacker and the terror group. In a May 23 telegram addressed to victims and signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis said he was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the barbaric attack in Manchester. The Pope voiced his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence, and praised the tremendous efforts of the emergency responders and security, offering his prayers for the wounded and those who died. Mindful in a particular way of those children and young people who have lost their lives, and of their grieving families, the Pope invoked Gods blessings of peace, healing and strength upon the nation. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Archdiocese of Westminster in London, sent a letter to Bishop Arnold May 23 expressing his condolences for the attack. It was with great sorrow that I heard the media reports of last nights atrocity, in Manchester, he said. May God welcome into His merciful presence all who have died. May God turn the hearts of all who commit evil to a true understanding of His desire and intention for humanity. I assure you, and all those you serve, of the prayers and condolences of your brother bishops in England and Wales, he said, adding that We, too, mourn this loss of life. We pray for the eternal repose of all who have died. The Diocese of Salford announced that Bishop Arnold would say a special Mass for the victims May 23 at 12:30 p.m. at St. Marys Church, which is the Catholic Mother Church of Greater Manchester. Another Mass will be held at the Salford cathedral at 7 p.m. local time. In a May 23 statement immediately following a meeting of the governments emergency committee, Cobra, UK Prime Minister Theresa May called the bombing a callous terrorist attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families and friends of all those affected, she said, noting that the attack is among the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom. All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people, May continued, but said the arena attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives. Although hes traveling abroad, U.S. President Donald Trump said during a joint appearance with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday, that the wicked ideology of terrorism must be obliterated. I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed and the families, so many families, of the victims. So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life, he added. I wont call them monsters, because they would like that term, they would think thats a great name. I will call them, from now on, losers, because thats what they are. The attack is the worst Britain has seen since a bombing on the London transport network on July 7, 2005 killed 52 people. This article was updated at 2:00 p.m. local time in Rome with comments from a telegram sent by Pope Francis.
  • Vatican City, May 22, 2017 / 03:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News ).- Only seven months after Pope Francis last consistory, he will create five new cardinals in June. He continues a pattern of finding cardinals at the peripheries of the world, from dioceses which have not traditionally had a cardinal. The next consistory will take place June 28. In this new batch Pope Francis has confirmed his preference for dioceses that are not traditional sees for a cardinal. For instance, this is the first time a bishop from El Salvador, Sweden, Mali, and Laos will receive a red hat. The Popes choice of Bishop Louis Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, Vicar Apostolic of Paks, reveals his particular interest in Laos. Laos, a one-party communist republic averse to religion, is one of the few countries lacking full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. However, in recent years the Laotian government has been showing a greater openness to the international community, and also to the religious sentiment of its mostly Buddhist population. There are only 45,000 Catholics in Laos, less than one percent of the 7 million Laotians. Laos has no dioceses: there are only three apostolic vicariates with 22 priests and 11 religious priests. Three new priests were ordained in the country in 2016, and two more will be ordained this year. The beatification of Italian missionary Mario Borzaga, of the Laotian priest Joseph Thao Thien and 14 companions martyred in 1960 gave more impetus to the Laotian baby Church, to use Bishop Mangkhanekhouns words. The beatification Mass took place in Vientiane on Dec. 11, 2016, with the participation of over 7,000 faithful. The governments permission for the public celebration was considered a sign that the Laotian government is changing its hostile attitude towards religion. Meanwhile, the Holy See is trying to establish full diplomatic ties with the country in order to better protect the Catholic flock. In Mali, the red biretta for Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamao can also be read through diplomatic lense. Archbishop Zerbo has strongly committed to the ongoing dialogue for reconciliation in his country. In 2012, Al-Qaeda exploited a rebellion carried out by ethnic Tuaregs and tried to take control of the central government. Ever since, Mali has been living in a constant political crisis that has turned into a refugee crisis. His elevation as cardinal will give Archbishop Zerbo more weight in the peace talks. After his trip to Sweden late last year, Pope Francis also named as cardinal Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm. Bishop Arborelius, a convert from Lutheranism, is the first Swedish-born Catholic bishop in the country since the Lutheran Reformation. In El Salvador, Bishop Jos Gregorio Rosa Chavez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, is the first auxiliary bishop ever to be appointed a cardinal while the bishop in charge of his archdiocese remains but a bishop. His red biretta may be considered a reward for his service to El Salvador in his more than 30 years as auxiliary bishop, especially during the difficult years of the 1980-1992 civil war. In contrast to other cardinals-to-be, the red hat for Archbishop Juan Jos Omella Omella is not a dramatic departure from tradition, as Barcelona is traditionally a see with a cardinal. Archbishop Omellas predecessor, Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, turned 80 on Apr. 29. The announcement that Archbishop Omella will be created a cardinal comes only two days after the new presidency of the Spanish Bishops Conference met with Pope Francis in a private audience in Rome. The Spanish Bishops Conference gathered for its general assembly in Madrid on March 15. Cardinal Ricardo Blzquez Prez was re-elected as president for a second three-year mandate by a strong majority. Cardinal Antonio Caizares Llovera, archbishop of Valencia and former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was elected vice-president. In the race for the presidency, Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid, got four votes, while Archbishop Omella got just one vote. By naming Archbishop Omella a cardinal, the Pope might want to show the Spanish Bishops Conference the men in whom he places his trust. The two Spaniards, Cardinal Osoro Sierra, appointed by Pope Francis as Archbishop of Madrid, and Archbishop Omella will have gotten their red hats in back to back consistories only seven months apart. All of the new cardinals are below 80, so they all have the right to vote in a conclave to elect a Pope. Swedens Bishop Anders Arborelius is the youngest, as he will turn 68 in September, while Bishop Rosa is the oldest, about to turn 75. In the last consistory, 13 out of 17 new red hats were given to bishops or archbishops below the age of 80. Church rules set the maximum number of cardinal electors in a conclave at 120. With the five new cardinals, Pope Francis has the increased the number of voting cardinals to 121, exceeding the limit by one. The five new cardinals also slightly re-shape the composition of the College of Cardinals. After the June 28 consistory, Europe will be represented by 53 voting cardinals, compared with 51 at present. Central Americas voting cardinals will increase to five from four. Africa and Asia combined will have 15 cardinals in a prospective conclave, an increase of one. Other regions number of cardinal electors is unchanged: North America still has 17 voting cardinals, South America has 12, and Oceania four. Up to now, Pope Francis has created 61 cardinals: 49 voting cardinals, and 12 non-voting. The college of voting cardinals is completed by 52 cardinals created by Benedict XVI, and 20 by St. John Paul II.