VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is leading a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica to give the Catholic Church 14 new cardinals.
Among them is Iraqi churchman Louis Raphael I Sako, the Baghdad-based patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldeans. He told Francis that he welcomed the pope’s “special attention” to the small flock of Christians that has faced martyrdom for the faith in the Middle East, Pakistan and elsewhere.
A Pakistani prelate is also among the 14.
With Thursday’s ceremony, Francis will have named 74 cardinals during his 5-year-old papacy. In comparison, John Paul II named 77 cardinals during his 26 years as pope.
Francis’ picks have reflected his attention to countries located far from the Vatican after centuries of European dominance of the ranks of cardinals.