Bishop McElroy is the only North American among a new crop of cardinals
Bishop Robert W. McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego was the only North American among 21 churchmen from 16 countries chosen by Pope Francis to be elevated to the cardinalate in a consistory on Aug. 27 in Rome. Sixteen of the cardinals-designate are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.
Cardinal-designate McElroy told reporters on May 31 that he believed the pope selected him because he wanted a cardinal on the U.S. West Coast and because of his support for the pope’s pastoral and ecclesial priorities. “Pope Francis has a series of initiatives that he’s trying to bring to the life of the church,” he said, “and I have tried to take those initiatives and plant them here.”
The cardinals-designate include three senior members of the Roman Curia: Cardinal-designate Arthur Roche of England, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Cardinal-designate Lazarus You Heung-sik of South Korea, head of the Congregation for the Clergy; and Cardinal-designate Fernando Vérgez Alzaga of Spain, head of the office in charge of Vatican City State operations.
Cardinal-designate Giorgio Marengo, apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, will be the youngest cleric with a red hat. He celebrated his 48th birthday in June. Mongolia, which has a Catholic population of 1,359, will now have its first cardinal, as will Singapore with Cardinal-designate William Goh Seng Chye, and Paraguay with Cardinal-designate Adalberto Martínez Flores of Asunción.