Pope surprises church by naming more cardinals
Pope John Paul II, in a highly unusual move, named a further five new cardinals on Sunday following the appointment of 37 last week.
He also disclosed the names of two cardinals he appointed secretly in 1998.
Addressing pilgrims and tourists in St Peter's Square, the Pope said he was again making an exception to a rule that no more than 120 cardinals -- and only those under the age of 80 --should enter the conclave to elect the Pope's successor after his death.
Since all seven of the men named on Sunday are under 80 the number of "cardinal-electors" rises to an unprecedented 135, and the total membership of the College of Cardinals rises to 185.
The new appointments also further weakened the college's Italian bloc, increasing the possibility that the next Pope will be non-Italian.
The Pope said he had chosen the five new cardinals last week but had kept their names secret for 'various reasons'.
Among the five new cardinals is Lubomyr Husar, 67, Major Archbishop of Lviv, Ukraine, the recently elected head of the Eastern Rite Ukrainian Catholic Church, which is also known as the Greek Catholic Church.
Two new cardinals come from Germany. They were Johannes Joachim Degenhardt, 74, Archbishop of Paderborn and Karl Lehmann, 64, Bishop of Mainz.
Lehmann made world headlines last year when he suggested that the Pope might one day consider retiring if he felt unable to run the church properly for health reasons.
Lehmann told Portugal's Radio Renascenca on Sunday that by naming him a cardinal the Pope had shown appreciation of his work as head of the German bishops' conference and that the controversy surrounding last year's comments was over.