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Pope installs new cardinals


Pope Benedict installed his first group of new cardinals on Friday, elevating 15 men to join the exclusive College of Cardinals that advises him and will one day elect his successor.

Reuters reports that the ceremony, held on the steps of St Peter's Basilica, included a prayer for religious freedom in China, where the Vatican says Catholics loyal to the Pope are not allowed to practice their faith openly.

Benedict, less than a month away from his first anniversary as Pope, gave each of the men their red cardinal's hats and urged them in a homily to preach a message of love and spread the faith.

"I am counting on you to see to it that the Church's solicitude for the poor and needy challenges the world with a powerful statement on the civilisation of love," he said.

Handing each man his four-cornered biretta hat, he recalled they were coloured red to signify a cardinal's commitment to spread and defend the faith even if it meant spilling his blood.

Twelve of the 15 new cardinals are under 80 and thus eligible to enter a conclave to choose a pope. They are mostly from Europe, Asia and the United States.

Krakow Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, 66, was the best-known face, having been at the late Pope John Paul's side during 26 years as his faithful private secretary and one of the most influential men in the Vatican.

Dziwisz received the biggest round of applause and even the Pope seemed filled with emotion when he embraced Dziwisz, who remains a living symbol of the pontificate that ended a year ago. Dziwisz's lips could be seen saying "Thank You, Thank You" in Italian.

The most influential was William Levada, 69, the former archbishop of San Francisco appointed by Benedict last May to replace him as head of the Vatican's powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The biggest surprise of the new cardinals, whose names were first announced last month, was the elevation of Hong Kong's Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.

Zen is an outspoken supporter of democracy and critic of Beijing's restrictive religious policies, which do not allow Chinese Catholics to recognise the pope's authority.


SOURCE
Pope installs first group of new cardinals (Reuters 24/3/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church | New cardinals 2006

ARCHIVE
Pope calls all cardinals to Rome (CathNews 24/2/06)
Pope names 15 new cardinals (CathNews 23/2/06)

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27 Mar 2006