Archbishop Jozef De Kesel appointed cardinal
Pope Francis has appointed the Belgian archbishop Jozef De Kesel cardinal. On 19 November he was officially appointed together with sixteen other cardinals. Thus, Jozef De Kesel follows in the footsteps of cardinal Godfried Danneels.
On 19 November Pope Francis held a consistory for the appointment of seventeen new cardinals, thirteen of whom are younger than eighty and consequently will be eligible to vote in a conclave. The latter appoints a new pope in case of death or resignation of the present pope.
Jozef De Kesel was surprised by his nomination: “I have great respect for Pope Francis, but I do not know why he has chosen me. People say that we are working along the same lines and I hope this is true in many respects. I appreciate this nomination that is probably the expression of the Pope’s esteem for me as a person.”
The nomination as a cardinal of the archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels is no longer a matter of course. Indeed, his predecessor has not been nominated as a cardinal. This relates among other things to the attention of the world church for the South. That is why the college of cardinals counts less European cardinals.
Jozef De Kesel was ordained a priest in 1972 in Adegem, East Flanders. He gained a doctorate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Pope John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of Mechelen-Brussels on 20 March 2002, which he remained until 2010. Afterwards he was appointed bishop of Bruges. Five years later he became archbishop.