Pope appoints 31 new Cardinals

POPE JOHN PAUL II named 30 new Cardinals on Sunday, including Philadelphia archbishop Justin Rigali, further putting his mark on the group that will name his successor.

The ailing, 83-year-old Pope also designated a 31st cardinal but did not name him. That man was named "in pectore," or close to his heart, a term used for prelates in a country where the church is oppressed.

Boston's new archbishop, Sean O'Malley, was not on the list although his name had been circulating in the Italian media as a possible candidate.

O'Malley replaced Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as Boston archbishop amid public outcry over a sex abuse scandal.

The College of Cardinals is already mainly made up of like-minded conservatives reflecting John Paul's choices during his 25-year-papacy. A new batch will further strengthen the ailing Pope's influence on the choice of his successor.

Rigali, 68, is a native of Los Angeles who was previously archbishop of St Louis. He is a conservative and has championed two of the Pope's favourite causes publicly condemning abortion and the death penalty. He rarely speaks in public.

John Paul will elevate the group at a consistory on October 21, coinciding with the celebrations marking his 25th anniversary as Pope. The Pope read the list out from his studio window overlooking St Peter's Square to pilgrims and tourists gathered for his traditional Sunday greeting. Among the new cardinals are archbishops from Nigeria, France, Sudan, Spain, Scotland, Brazil, Ghana, India, Australia, Croatia, Vietnam, Guatemala, Hungary, Canada and Italy. Rigali is the only American on the list.

Prior to yesterday's announcement, the College of Cardinals had 164 members, but only 109 of them are under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new Pope. Of the eligible voters, all but five were named by John Paul.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox