Pope Benedict XVI elected Bishop Raul Vela Chiriboga (Emeritus Archbishop of Quito, Ecuador ) as a new cardinal yesterday. Vela is now part of the College of Cardinals and may vote in the upcoming Pope election.
The Pope chose 23 bishops to be cardinals—the Ecuadorian is among those—. The official appointment will be on November 20th (Saturday) at the Vatican City, during the third session that the highest Catholic authority has convened.
Guayaquil Archbishop, Monsignor Antonio Arregui, pointed that “The Holy Father have had a flatering deference to Ecuador choosing a cardinal because we haven’t had one in two years.” Vela is the fifth Ecuadorian Cardinal. In the past, the deceased monsignors Bernardino Echeverría, Pablo Muñoz Vega, Antonio Gonzalez Zumarraga and Maria de la Torre Carlos Nieto have had this position. “It is a joy that Pope recolled us. There are countries of a similar size as Ecuador that haven’t had a cardinal in the last decade,” he said.
Arregui explained that, as a cardinal, Vela would become a Pope advisor on issues he considers. Due to his age, 76, he may elect and be elected Pope. After he has turned 80, the Ecuadorian Bishop will not be able to vote, however, he may still be chosen. Currently 121 bishops from around the world are cardinals.