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Pope names six new cardinals

By on Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cardinal-designate James Harvey, prefect of the papal household (Photo: CNS)

Cardinal-designate James Harvey, prefect of the papal household (Photo: CNS)

Pope Benedict XVI surprised pilgrims in St Peter’s Square this morning by announcing that next month he would create six new cardinals, including 63-year-old US Archbishop James Harvey, prefect of the papal household.

The Pope said the consistory to create the new cardinals, who come from six countries, would take place on November 24, the feast of Christ the King.

It will be the smallest group of cardinals created since the 1977 consistory when Pope Benedict, the then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, received his red hat from Pope Paul VI along with three other churchmen.

The new cardinals will also include Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai, 72, Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, 53, head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Nigerian Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, 68, Colombian Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, 70, and Philippine Archbishop Luis Tagle of Manila, 55.

Pope Benedict made the announcement at the end of his weekly general audience, which was attended by about 20,000 pilgrims. As is usual, Cardinal-designate Harvey was seated next to the Pope during the audience. While he did not visibly react when his name was announced, the new cardinal-designate smiled and had a brief moment with the Pope before returning to his normal duties of helping lead important guests up to the Pope.

The Pope said he was naming Cardinal-designate Harvey the new archpriest of Rome’s Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls.

Telling the crowd that he had the “great joy” of announcing new cardinals, Pope Benedict said cardinals have “the task of helping the successor of Peter in his ministry” of strengthening people’s faith and promoting the unity of the Church.

The Pope asked Catholics to pray that the new cardinals would “always love Christ and his Church with courage and dedication”.

Of the six soon-to-be cardinals, only Cardinal-designates Harvey and Salazar were not members of the world Synod of Bishops on the new evangelisation, which was meeting at the Vatican when the Pope made his announcement.

As the Pope climbed into the popemobile at the end of the audience, Vatican security officers and Vatican ushers approached Cardinal-designate Harvey and shook his hand in congratulations.

The consistory will bring the total number of cardinals to 211 and the number of cardinals under the age of 80 to 120. Until they reach their 80th birthdays, cardinals are eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.

Pope Paul VI limited the number of cardinal-electors to 120. After the November 1 birthday of Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze and the November 23 birthday of Italian Cardinal Renato Martino, there will be six vacancies.

Cardinal-designate Harvey has worked at the Vatican for 30 years. Born in Milwaukee on October 20, 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1975 by Pope Paul.

He entered the Vatican’s diplomatic corps and spent two years as a Vatican diplomat in the Dominican Republic before being transferred to the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1982. In 1997, he was named assessor of the secretariat, a rank similar to that of an undersecretary at a Vatican congregation, and in 1998 Pope John Paul II named him prefect of the Papal Household, the office responsible for organising papal audiences, including those with heads of state.

When Cardinal-designate Harvey becomes a cardinal, the United States will have 19 cardinals, 11 of whom will be under 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a pope.

Contributing to this story was Carol Glatz.

  • nytor

    Brady is Armagh. Armagh is a cardinalitial see. That is all.

  • Jon Brownridge

     My current bishop is Thomas Cardinal Collins. My former bishop, Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic (deceased) whom I knew personally while I was still involved in Catholic Education was of the same opinion about lay Cardinals. What do you have against women? Cardinals are traditionally papal advisers. Are you saying women are incapable of giving advice? Or is their advice irrelevant in your estimation?

  • Parasum

    Excellent idea. It would be good to have some laywomen: they might bring some much-needed perspective to the deliberations of the celibate elderly men who are at present the only members of the College. Since the vast majority of Catholics are laity, of whom a very great number are women, to have only elderly familyless males deciding matters that touch the lives of the laity, women not least, very closely, is silly.

  • Parasum

    That raving liberal monster Pius IX had the layman Cardinal Antonelli (d.1876) as his “Foreign Secretary”.

    Since the Church is not composed exclusively of elderly male unmarried priests, it is not clear why having some of those fabulous beings with ovaries & mammary superstructure is so outlandish a suggestion. Those who are against the idea no doubt imagine that Jesus was not a Jew, and that He chose only elderly Gentile men. IIRC, He had a mother. So presumably He didn’t have the dread of the Ovary Monsters from Outside the Vatican that appears to trouble some Catholics.

  • Sylvester George Fernando

    Dear Cardinal designate,At this age,you have been chosen to be little better off when compared to your fellow bishops!Do you realize the need for recruiting educated,devout catholic lay missionaries who had been spiritually indebted to St.Francis Xavier of Paravas to the catholic european community as per Pope Ratzinger’s Re-evangelization of Europe!What do you think?I do look forward to hear from you soon.Good Day!

  • Jon Brownridge

     “Avery Dulles was raised from the level of a priest to that of a Cardinal, an unheard of feat.”
    Not so. Until 1917 Cardinals were appointed from among the laity as well as from the clergy. It is time to bring back that practice. Cardinals (cardo = advisor) are meant to be papal advisors. Although old, celibate clerics have every right to offer advice, so have married men and women, lay intellectuals, philosophers, and everyone else who are baptized members of the Church. The College of Cardinals needs a vigorous shake-up.

  • Hugh McLoughlin

    A Secretary of a Congregation is never created cardinal unless and until he is being advanced to the first rank of the Roman Curia. Archbishop Roche is only four months into the job so why would there have been any surprise that he was not named cardinal? And when you look at the other Archbishop Secretaries of the Secretariat of State and the nine congregations (who constitute the second highest tier of the Roman Curia) you would have to say that it is unlikely that he will ever be deemed worthy of the Sacred Roman purple. Archbishop Nichols is entirely another matter. His exclusion from the list of new cardinals is a very definite and deliberate rap on the knuckles.

  • Togold

    Why the rap on the knuckles. What has he done or failed to do?

  • Hugh McLoughlin

    The Soho Mass scandal? The obfuscation as regards civil partnerships (never mind “same-sex marriage”)? The Oratory school fiasco?

  • Patrickhowes

    Bishop Harvey is a wonderful man!Have met and has helped me personally

  • Togold

    Will the red hat be delayed or permanently denied? All other Archbishops of westminster  have been raised to the sacred college. What think you?

  • Togold


  • Patrickhowes

    Do not arrogantly presume that you know better than the Pope!

  • Patrickhowes

    Or sacked?