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Pope names 24 new cardinals

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims during his general audience in St Peter's Square (Photo: CNS)

Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he will create 24 new cardinals at a consistory due to be held on November 20.

The newly announced Curial cardinals include the Pope’s new chief ecumenist, the Swiss Archbishop Kurt Koch, the newly appointed prefect for the Congregation of Clergy, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, and the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato.

Pope Benedict will elevate Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo in Sri Lanka, Archbishop Monsengwo Pasiya of Kinshasa from the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw and his fellow countryman Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising.

Other high-profile churchmen on to the list included Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, prefect for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Archbishop Robert Sarah from Guinea, the newly appointed president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. Archbishop Sarah was the papal emissary to the Central African Republic and recommended the dramatic reform of the local Church.

The prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest judicial authority, Archbishop Raymond Burke, formerly of St Louis, was also among the names. Archbishop Burke has a reputation for outspoken defence of the Church.

Although some Vatican watchers expected both Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York to be on the list, neither man will be given a red hat this year. Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto was considered to be another likely candidate who was absent from the list.

Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement during his Wednesday general audience. He said the names reflected the “universality of the Church” and asked the faithful to pray for the new cardinals.

Of the newly named cardinals, 20 are potential electors if Pope Benedict XVI were to die and a conclave of cardinals were called. Cardinals under the age of 80 are allowed to vote for the Pope.