By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, has been cleaning house ever since taking office on March 13, 2013.
As part of his efforts to get rid of corruption at the highest levels and better serve the faithful, he selected 19 new cardinals last January with a focus on representatives from poor countries in Africa and Latin America. This year, the Pope continued increasing the Catholic Church’s diversity, naming 15 new cardinals from mostly non-European countries.
Cardinals are ranked beneath the Pope, but are higher than Archbishops. They belong to the College of Cardinals, which acts like a congress within the Catholic Church. This group advises the Pope on important global matters and also helps select new Popes.
“He’s breaking all the patterns of cardinal nominations,” said Alberto Melloni, the director of the John XXIII Center in Bologna. “What’s striking is how quickly he broke with a centuries-old mechanism.” Pope Francis even helped reopen relations between the USA and Cuba, after decades of cut ties.
Images courtesy of The Vatican.