Pope Benedict XVI named the Archbishop of Bogota as one of the Vatican’s new cardinals Wednesday morning.
Bogota archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez will join five others from the U.S., Lebanon, India, Nigeria, and the Philippines as cardinals in the Vatican later this year, announced the Pope during his weekly general audience.
The latest appointees will be confirmed in their new positions during the next consistory, which will be held on November 24.
The 70-year-old Colombian was ordained as a priest on May 20, 1967, before serving as the director of the Department of Social Pastoral of the Colombian Episcopal Conference. In March 1999 Salazar was promoted to be the Archbishop of Barranquilla, and in July 2010 he was appointed Archbishop of the Colombian capital Bogota.
At the time, Salazar identified his top three priorities as being, “protecting marriage as the union between one man and one woman, saving innocent life in the womb, and promoting peace in Colombia.”
Although nearly half of the world’s Catholics are in Latin America, the region only has 21 representatives in the Vatican.
The newest additions mean there will be 120 cardinals under age 80 and therefore eligible to vote for a new pope. It is required that cardinals be under the age of 80 if they are to take part in a papal election.
This is the fifth time since his ascension in 2005 that Pope Benedict, aged 85, has named new cardinals. The announcement comes amid rumors that the Pope’s health may be deteriorating more rapidly than many had thought.