‘I was born into a new life’: How a Canadian street priest became a Catholic cardinal overnight

13 July 2020
Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ. Image: Vatican News.


Michael Czerny has emerged as one of Pope Francis’s top advisers on migrants and the environment, and will help to choose the pontiff’s successor.

On October 2, Canada’s Michael Czerny was a lowly Roman Catholic priest, though one who had caught the eye of Pope Francis. On October 3, Francis made him a bishop. At a ceremony the very next day, Pope Francis placed a scarlet biretta cap on the bishop’s head to create Cardinal Czerny.

A bit of Vatican history was made at that moment. In recent memory, no priest had been made a cardinal-elector — a Cardinal under the age of 80 who is eligible to vote for the next pope — before spending years as a bishop. Several priests over 80 have been honoured by being elevated to cardinal.

Since he is not yet 80 (only in the Vatican are septuagenarians considered young bucks), he is also an elector in the College of Cardinals, meaning he will vote for the next Pope. He is also, theoretically, a candidate for the top job himself (he is one of four living Canadian cardinals – the others are Marc Ouellet, Gerald Lacroix and Thomas Collins).

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With thanks to The Globe and Mail.


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