Catholic World News News Feature
Pope names 15 new cardinals February 22, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI will create 15 new cardinals at a consistory on March 24.
The Holy Father disclosed his plans at his regular public audience on February 22. The announcement had been widely expected, although most reporters expected the consistory to take place on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation.
The list of prospective cardinals, which the Pope read aloud to the audience in the Paul VI auditorium, included the archbishops of Boston, Caracas, Hong Kong, Krakow, Manila, and Seoul. Among the new cardinals, 12 will be eligible to vote in papal conclaves, while 3 are already over the age of 80 and thus unable to participate.
Pope Benedict will thus adhere to the rule set by Pope Paul VI, who stipulated that there should be no more than 120 cardinals eligible to participate in a conclave. (Barring deaths, there will be 108 cardinal-electors on the day of the consistory; the 12 new electors will bring that total up to the maximum.) Pope John Paul II twice exercised his prerogative to waive that rule, reaching an all-time high of 135 cardinal-electors.
Three of the new cardinals will be members of the Roman Curia:
- Archbishop William Levada, the American prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope's own successor in that role.
- Archbishop Franc Rodé, the Slovenian prefect of the Congregation for Religious
- Archbishop Agostino Vallini, the Italian prefect of the supreme tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
Nine of the new cardinals will be heads of major archdioceses, most of them traditionally considered "cardinalatial sees." They are:
- Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy
- Archbishop Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain
- Archbishop Nicolas Cheong-Jin-Suk of Seoul, South Korea
- Archbishop Stanislas Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, the longtime personal secretary to Pope John Paul II
- Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston, US
- Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, France, the president of the French episcopal conference
- Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales on Manila, the Philippines
- Archbishop Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino of Caracas, Venezuela
- Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun of Hong Kong, China
Finally the Pope selected three clerics who are not now acting as bishops, who will receive the red hat in recognition for their years of service to the Church. All three are over the age of 80, and thus will never participate in a papal conclave. They are:
- Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, the archpriest of the Roman basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, a veteran Vatican diplomat and member of a noted Italian family.
- Archbishop Peter Poreku Dery, the retired Archbishop of Tamale, Ghana, who is 87.
- Father Albert Vanhoye, the French Jesuit who was rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institue and secretary to the Pontifical Biblical Commision.
There are no major surprises on the Pope's list of new cardinals. The selection of Bishop Zen, while not unexpected, is a strong statement of support for a prelate who has been outspoken in his criticism of Chinese restrictions on religious freedom. The choice of Archbishop O'Malley will raise some eyebrows in light of the turmoil that has afflicted his Boston archdiocese. On other hand the selection of Archbishops Levada, Rodé, and Dziwisz had been considered near-certainties.
Pope Benedict explained that the March consistory will take place over a 3-day period. On March 23 the Pontiff will gather with the full College of Cardinals for a day of reflection and prayer. March 24 will see the actual ceremony at which the new cardinals receive their red hats. The consistory will formally close with Mass on Saturday, March 25, at which the new cardinals will concelebrate with the Pope.
The Pope's decision to hold the consistory on the eve of that feast day eliminates one problem of timing. Because the creation of new cardinals always involves private celebration, it is traditional not to hold consistories during Lent. The Annunciation, however, is a major feast day, breaking into that penitential season. By scheduling the solemn ceremonies of the consistory on Friday, March 24, the Pope allows for a day of celebration to follow. Most of the new cardinals will doubtless remain in Rome for the 4th Sunday of Lent, or Laetare Sunday, when the Church anticipates the joy of Easter.
Pope Benedict announced the consistory on a day that has its own special significance on the liturgical calendar: the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Since the 4th century this feast has celebrated the communion of the Church with the Holy See, and the unity of St. Peter with the other apostles-- a unity that is symbolized today in the College of Cardinals.