VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict named 24 new cardinals Oct. 20, including 10 Italians and four Africans.
The appointments bolster the strength of the Vatican Curia within the College of Cardinals. Many of the Italians to receive the red hat hold curial offices that are traditionally occupied by cardinals.
No Canadians were among those named Oct. 20, dousing speculation that Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, former archbishop of Edmonton, would be named a cardinal.
Pope Benedict also appointed two Americans – Archbishop Raymond Burke, a Vatican official, and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington.
The pope announced the names at the end of his weekly general audience Oct. 20 and said he would formally install the cardinals during a special consistory at the Vatican Nov. 20.
"The universality of the Church is reflected in the list of new cardinals," the pope said. “In fact, they come from various parts of the world and fulfill different tasks in the service of the Holy See or in direct contact with the people of God as fathers and pastors of particular churches.”
The new cardinals come from 13 countries on five continents. The pope named 10 curial officials -- a higher number than expected -- along with 10 residential archbishops and four prelates over the age of 80. One unusual aspect of the pope's list was that two of the residential archbishops were retired.
The November ceremony will mark the third time Pope Benedict has created cardinals since his election in April 2005. After the consistory, he will have appointed about 40 per cent of the cardinals currently under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.
Thirteen of the voting-age cardinals will be American -- matching a historically high number for the United States – two will be Canadians and 25 will be Italians.
The consistory will leave the College of Cardinals with 203 members, a new record. Of those, 121 will be under age 80, one more than a numerical limit of 120 that has often been waived. Seven cardinals will turn 80 over the next six months.
Cardinal-designate Burke, 62, is prefect of the Vatican's highest tribunal, the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature. Burke has been one of the most outspoken U.S. bishops. Before the November 2008 U.S. presidential election, he said the Democratic Party "risks transforming itself definitively into a 'party of death.'"
In 2004, he was the first U.S. bishop to say publicly that he would withhold Communion from Catholic politicians with voting records that contradicted church teaching on fundamental moral issues. He was serving as archbishop of St. Louis when Pope Benedict named him head of the Apostolic Signature in 2008.
The pope named four cardinals who are over the age of 80, prelates he said were "distinguished for their generosity and dedication in service of the Church."
Collins, 63, was widely seen as an almost inevitable appointment to the College of Cardinals. The archbishop of Toronto is typically named a cardinal. When Collins’ predecessor, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, turned 80 in January, it seemed inevitable that Collins would soon be wearing the red hat.
Nevertheless, many more cardinals are slated to turn 80 over the next two years and it is possible that Collins, 63, could be appointed in a future consistory.
Here is the list of the 24 cardinals-designate, in the order in which the pope announced them Oct. 20: