Pope Francis names 20 new cardinals

VATICAN CITY, Holy See (AFP) — Pope Francis, who recently raised the possibility of retiring due to his declining health, will create 20 new cardinals on Saturday — many of whom could one day choose his successor.

It is the eighth consistory since the 85-year-old was elected in 2013, but is being particularly closely watched for signs of the kind of Catholic Church he hopes to leave behind.

The new cardinals include men known for their progressive views and their pastoral work, and they hail from around the world: from Brazil to Nigeria, India, Singapore and East Timor.

After Saturday’s swearing-in at St Peter’s Basilica, they will join a two-day meeting of all cardinals starting Monday.

The gathering was called earlier this year to discuss the pope’s new constitution for the governance of the church — but has only fueled speculation he is on his way out.

Francis, who has cancelled numerous events in recent months and been forced to use a wheelchair due to knee pain, said last month “the door is open” to stepping down.

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