Pope names six new cardinals, including US Archbishop Harvey
Pope Benedict XVI surprised pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 24 by announcing he would create six new cardinals, including 63-year-old U.S. Archbishop James M. Harvey, prefect of the papal household, in late November.
The pope said the consistory to create the new cardinals, who come from six countries, would take place Nov. 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 also will 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 evangelization, which was meeting at the Vatican when the pope made his announcement. [More]