Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

2 Americans among 22 Cardinals Elevated

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

2 Americans among 22 Cardinals Elevated

Article excerpt


Pope Benedict XVI created 22 new cardinals on Saturday, including two Americans -- Timothy Dolan, who heads the archdiocese of New York, and Edward O'Brien, the outgoing archbishop of Baltimore -- in a ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica at which the pope increasingly turned to Italians and Vatican officials to lead a global church.

Pope Benedict received the cardinals-designate from his throne under a soaring dome designed by Michelangelo, as one by one they knelt before the 84-year-old pope and received the red silk square- ridged hats, called birettas, that signify princes of the church.

With Saturday's ceremony, there are now 125 cardinals under the age of 80, and thus eligible to vote for the next pope. More than half of the cardinal-electors are now Italians and other Europeans, strengthening the Western voice at the church's highest levels even as the rank and file grows most rapidly in the global south.

Only three of the new cardinals hailed from the developing world: Brazil, India and Hong Kong.

One reason for the shift toward European cardinals may be that Pope Benedict, a native of Germany who worked for much of his career at the Vatican, has been highly concerned about, and focused on, the decline of Roman Catholicism in Europe, according to the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

Rev. Reese said the high number of Italian cardinals might also reflect the influence of high-ranking Italians in Pope Benedict's administration, including the Vatican's powerful secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

"There have already been two non-Italian popes in a row, and they may not want there to be a third," Rev. Reese said.

According to an analysis by Rev. Reese, the percentage of Italians in the College of Cardinals has risen to 24 percent, from 16 percent, during Pope Benedict's tenure. …

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