Pope Francis has appointed pastors for two of the world’s most important dioceses.

He named Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, 67, as Archbishop of Mexico City, home to eight million Catholics, and Bishop Michel Aupetit, 66, a former doctor, as Archbishop of Paris.

Cardinal Aguiar, a long-term ally of the Pope who was made a cardinal last year, collaborated with the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in producing the 2007 Aparecida document on evangelisation, a text often seen as a blueprint for the Francis papacy.

Rocco Palmo, writing at his blog Whispers in the Loggia, said: “That sound you hear is the new cardinal-primate vaulting to the front of the papabile file.”

Mr Palmo cited a source, close to Francis and Cardinal Aguiar, who described him as a “Renaissance man” who was “extremely smart and close to the people”.

He said that, “more than anything”, the choice underscored the Pope’s emphasis on the role of bishops’ conferences, as Cardinal Aguiar was elected to lead Mexico’s conference twice.

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