Pope Francis’ unexpected announcement this past Sunday that he would appoint 13 new cardinals to the College of Cardinals strengthens his grip on the Catholic Church and solidifies a liberal majority to select the next pope.
Press reports focused on the fact the Pontiff got stuck in an elevator for 25 minutes in route to his balcony appearance, but the Papal announcement was monumental for Catholics.
While three of the Cardinals designated will be honorary, 10 new ones will be created Oct. 5 at a consistory and will become active members of the College of Cardinals, increasing its number of electors to 128, exceeding the current limit of 120.
Since assuming the seat of St. Peter in 2013, Francis has been assiduously stacking the College of Cardinals with supporters, ones that will not only back his revisions to Church teachings, but choose his successor.
With his Sunday pronouncement, Francis will have picked 67 new members of the College of Cardinals, giving his backers a clear majority for the first time. Of the remaining members, 42 were selected by Benedict and 19 by John Paul II.