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Pope names five new cardinals in surprise announcement

Pope Francis waves during his Regina Caeli address overlooking St Peter's Square (AP)

Pope Francis has named five new cardinals for Laos, Mali, Sweden, Spain and El Salvador.

Francis, in his surprise announcement on Sunday to faithful in St Peter’s Square, said his selection reflects the universal nature of the Catholic Church. In some of the countries, like Laos and Sweden, Catholics are a minority.

The churchmen will be formally installed as cardinals in a ceremony at the Vatican on June 28.

They are Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali; Archbishop Juan José Omella of Barcelona, Spain; Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm; Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, apostolic vicar of Pakse, Laos; and Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez, an auxiliary bishop in San Salvador, El Salvador.