(Vatican Radio) – Pope Benedict XVI has announced a consistory for the creation of six new Cardinals. To the joy of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly audience with the Holy Father, he made his announcement at the end of his catechesis. Emer McCarthy reports:
The new cardinals come from three continents: America, Africa and Asia, and they are:
Archbishop James Michael Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical Household, who will be appointed Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Raï, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites (Lebanon), His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro- Malankara (India), Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria), Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota (Colombia), Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila (Philippines).
"The Cardinals - said the Pope - have the task of helping the Successor of Peter in the performance of his ministry of confirming the brethren in the faith, and that of being the principle and foundation of unity and communion of the Church." The new cardinals - he added - "fulfil their ministry in the service of the Holy See or as fathers and pastors of particular Churches in various parts of the world."
"I invite everyone to pray for the newly elected, requesting the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that they will always love with courage and dedication to Christ and his Church."
This is Benedict XVI’s fifth consistory, and with the consistory of November 24 he will have created 90 cardinals.
On that date, the College of Cardinals will be composed of 211 cardinals: 120 are eligible to vote in conclave being under the required 80 years of age.
In a geographical breakdown of current Cardinal-electors Europe counts 62; Northern America 14, South America 21; Africa 11; Asia 11; Oceania 3.