Benedict Chooses 24 Cardinals

In St. Peter’s Square at noon today, under a half-blue, half-cloud covered sky, Benedict XVI announced that he would create 24 cardinals at a Consistory on November 20, one month from now. The single biggest surprise: 10 of the 24 are from Italy…

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome

(Note: Inside the Vatican magazine will organize a small pilgrimage, limited to 12 people, to visit the Vatican and attend the consistory. See end of newsflash for further details.)

The new cardinals

(Photo, Pope Benedict with Msgr Domenico Bartolucci, director-emeritus of the Sistine Choir, from Italy, one of the 24 new cardinals he named today. By naming Bartolucci, who is over 80 and will not be able to vote in a conclave, the Pope showed his appreciation for the music of the Italian maestro)

Precisely at noon today in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict ended weeks of speculation about a possible consistory, and announced he will hold a Consistory to create 24 new cardinals, 20 under age 80 and so eligible to vote in a papal conclave, and four over age 80, on November 20, one month from now.

Here is the list in the order that Benedict read the names, which has a certain significance which I will discuss in the next email.


1. Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Italy
2. Antonio Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt
3. Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Guinea (Africa)
4. Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of St Paul’s Outside the Walls, Italy
5. Fortunato Baldelli, major penitentiary of the Roman Church, Italy
6. Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, USA
7. Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Switzerland
8. Paolo Sardi, pro-Patron of the Order of Malta, Italy
9. Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Italy
10. Velasio DePaolis CS, prefect for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (& papal delegate to the Legionaries of Christ), Italy
11. Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Italy
12. Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, archbishop-emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia
13. Raul Eduardo Vela Chiliboga, archbishop-emeritus of Quito, Ecuador
14. Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Zaire
15. Paolo Romeo, archbishop of Palermo, Italy
16. Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, USA
17. Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil
18. Kazmierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, Poland
19. Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka
20. Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany

Those over age 80:

21. Archbishop Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens, Military Ordinary-emeritus of Spain, Spain
22. Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president-emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Italy
23. Msgr Walter Brandmuller, president-emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences, Germany
24. Msgr Domenico Bartolucci, director-emeritus of the Sistine Choir, Italy

Quick reflections

I was in the piazza as the names were announced, and then at the press office as the world’s press sent out their newflashes.

The most startling fact about the names chosen is that 10 are Italians — more than 40% of the total named.

The reason there were so many? Well, part of the reason is that these Italians all hold curial offices which traditionally are held by cardinals. The Pope had little leeway, unless he was willing to make a break with tradition, and was, as it were, compelled to nominate these men to College because of the posts they hold.

The second point to note is that four of the cardinals are from Africa: Egypt, Congo, Zambia and Guinea.

So Italy and Africa together received 14 of the red hats, more than half.

The third point is that Asia has only one red hat, Archbishop Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The fourth point, from an American perspective, is that only two men were chosen from the United States, as had been expected: (1) Archbishop Raymond Burke, formerly of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and St. Louis, Missouri, but now serving in the curia as the head of Apostolic Signature; and (2) Archbishop Donald Wuerl, formerly of Seattle, Washington and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, now the head of the diocese which contains the nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

Here is the list divided into two other groups, the Roman Curia and Residential Archbishops:

Roman Curia (10):

Angelo Amato (Saints), Fortunato Baldelli (Apostolic Penitentiary), Raymond Leo Burke (Signatura), Velasio de Paolis (Economic Affairs), Francesco Monterisi (Archpriest of Saint Paul), Kurt Koch (Christian Unity), Gianfranco Ravasi (Culture), Paolo Sardi (Pro-Patron, Order of Malta), Robert Sarah (Cor Unum), Mauro Piacenza (Clergy).

Residential Archbishops (10):

Antonios Naguib, Alexandria (Egypt); Paolo Romeo, Palermo (Italy); Reinhard Marx, Munich and Freising (Germany); Kazimierz Nycz, Warsaw (Poland); Donald William Wuerl, Washington (USA); Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Kinshasa (Congo): Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, Lusaka (Zambia); Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patanbendige Don, Colombo (Sri Lanka); Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, Quito (Ecuador); Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Aparecida (Brazil).

Over 80 and so without voting rights (4):

Elio Sgreccia (Italy), José Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spain), Walter Brandmuller (Germany), Domenico Bartolucci (Italy — pictured above with the Holy Father).

This shows that, among the voting cardinals, the Curial nominees (10) are precisely equal to the nominees from the rest of the world (10).

So, one conclusion one can draw from this, in a quick way, is that Pope Benedict has reinforced the weight of the Curia and of Italy within the College of Cardinals.

A visit to the Consistory

Rome during the time of a Consistory is fascinating. There are the cardinals themselves, of course, but also all of their family members, friends and well-wishers.

On the evening when the cardinals are created, November 20, something special happens. The Vatican opens its doors, and friends and well-wishers of the new cardinals will be able to visit them inside the Vatican, to congratulate them and to assure them of their prayers, and to receive their blessings.

Therefore, we are inviting a few people to join with us during the Consistory days, no more than 12, to attend the Consistory, to go on the courtesy visits inside the Vatican, and to attend the papal Mass the following day on the Feast of Christ the King in St. Peter’s Basilica.

If you wish for more information about this Consistory visit, please email us at [email protected] or call 904-699-0960. We expect to fill these 12 seats very quickly. Therefore, if you would like to join us, call or email as soon as possible.

If you have ever wished to come to Rome and visit the Vatican, consider joining us for the Consistory.

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