Catholic church to swear-in Nigeria’s Opaleke as cardinal

Catholic church to swear-in Nigeria's Opaleke as cardinal

Nigerian Bishop, Peter Okpaleke of Ekwulobia Diocese, will be sworn in on Saturday with 20 others as new cardinals of the Catholic church.

According to Channels TV, the new cardinals are men recognized for their progressive views and pastoral work from Brazil, Nigeria, India, Singapore, and East Timor.

Recall that Pope Francis had earlier anointed Okpaleke as one of the new cardinals; a position that affords him the right to one day chose the Pope’s successor.

After Saturday’s swearing-in at St Peter’s Basilica, they will join a two-day meeting of all cardinals starting Monday.

It is the eighth consistory since the 85-year-old Pope was elected in 2013, but is being particularly closely watched for signs of the kind of Catholic Church he hopes to leave behind.

The gathering was called earlier this year to discuss the pope’s new constitution for the governance of the church — but has only fuelled speculation he is on his way out.

Francis, who has cancelled numerous events in recent months and been forced to use a wheelchair due to knee pain, said last month that “the door is open” to stepping down.

If he did follow his predecessor Benedict XVI and resign, a conclave involving all cardinals aged under 80 would be called to choose a successor.

After this weekend, Francis will have chosen around 90 out of the 132 cardinals eligible to elect a new pope, around two-thirds of the total — precisely the percentage needed for any proposed name to pass.