Bishop Anders Arborelius, OCD is the first native Swede to be named a cardinal in the two millennia of the Church. He was promoted to the ranks of cardinal on June 28, 2017.
Cardinal Arborelius was born in 1949, and was raised Lutheran. However, he converted to Catholicism at the age of twenty and then entered the Discalced Carmelites. Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Stockholm in 1998, becoming the first native Swede and second Scandinavian Catholic bishop. Since Reformation times, the majority of Catholics in Scandinavia have been immigrants or of immigrant descent.
In a recent interview, Cardinal Anders was asked what he thought his elevation to the cardinalate meant for the Catholic Church in Sweden, and for the Church in the world. He responded “For the Catholic Church in Sweden it is something very special, because we are not used to Cardinals in our part of the world, and people think it is very thrilling and somehow it shows that the Holy Father is interested in us. That we belong to the worldwide Church, and somehow he wants to tell us that ‘also you are important in a secular, pluralistic country as a minority.’”