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Pontiff names 22 new cardinals

Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong and Archbishop Mar George Allencherry of India to receive red hats

  • Alessandro Speciale, Vatican City
  • Vatican City
  • January 7, 2012
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Pope Benedict XVI today announced the appointments of 22 new cardinals who will take office during a Consistory next month.

Eighteen of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and therefore will have a vote in the conclave to elect the next pope.

Two clerics from Asia were among the new cardinals. The appointments of Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong and Major Archbishop Mar George Allencherry of the Syro Malabar Church in India bring the total voting members from Asia to nine.

Europe remains the most represented continent in the College of Cardinals, with 67 red hats (and representing 24 percent of the world’s Catholic population).

Latin America is represented by 22 cardinals, while North America has 15 and Africa has 11. Oceania only has one voting cardinal.

Ten of the new cardianals come from the Roman Curia and six of them are Italians. In total, 50 of the voting cardinals hold or have held top-level positions in the Vatican’s ministries and offices.

Pope Benedict also included in his appointments four non-voting cardinals: the head of the Greek-Catholic Church in Romania, a noted Belgian professor of religious anthropology and two scholars who taught at the Pontifical universities and worked with then Professor Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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