VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named his first batch of cardinals on Sunday, choosing 19 men from Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere, including the developing nations of Haiti and Burkina Faso, in line with his belief that the church must pay more attention to the poor.
Francis made the announcement as he spoke from his studio window to a crowd in St. Peter's Square.
Sixteen of the appointees are younger than 80, meaning they are currently eligible to elect the next pope, which is a cardinal's most important task. The ceremony to formally install them as cardinals will be held Feb. 22 at the Vatican.
Since his election in March as the first pontiff from Latin America, the pope has broken tradition after tradition in terms of protocol and style at the Vatican. But in Sunday's list Francis stuck to the church's rule of having no more than 120 cardinals eligible to elect the next pontiff.
The College of Cardinals is currently 13 shy of that 120-mark among eligible-to-vote members. In addition, three cardinals will turn 80 by May. That means Francis chose the exact number of new cardinals needed to bring the voting ranks up to 120 during the next few months.