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Pope elevates 6 cardinals to choose successor

Associated Press Modified: November 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm •  Published: November 24, 2012
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The Vatican spokesman has denied Harvey, 63, from Milwaukee, is leaving because of the scandal. But on the day the pope announced Harvey would be made cardinal, he also said he would leave the Vatican to take up duties as the archpriest of one of the Vatican's four Roman basilicas. Such a face-saving promotion-removal is not an uncommon Vatican personnel move.

Harvey's departure has led to much speculation about who would replace him in the delicate job of organizing the pope's daily schedule and arranging audiences.

Aside from Harvey, Tagle, and Onaiyekan, the new cardinals are: Bogota, Colombia Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez; the Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites in Lebanon, His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai; and the major Archbishop of the Trivandrum of the Siro-Malankaresi in India, His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal.

Later Saturday after the ceremony, the cardinals received visitors in the frescoed rooms of the Apostolic Palace, which opens its doors to the general public for these special cardinal-making occasions.

Cardinals serve as the pope's closest advisers, but their main task is to elect a new pope. And with Benedict, 85, slowing down, that task is ever more present. For the second time, the consistory ceremony was greatly trimmed back, lasting just over an hour to spare the pope the fatigue of a lengthy ceremony.

He will, however, celebrate Mass on Sunday with his new cardinals.

While Benedict didn't mention the cardinals' primary task in his remarks, he did remind them that the scarlet of their cassock and hat that they wear symbolizes the blood that cardinals must be willing to shed to remain faithful to the church.

"From now on you will be even more closely and intimately linked to the See of Peter," he said.

The six new cardinals are all under age 80. Their nominations bring the number of voting-age cardinals to 120, 67 of whom were named by Benedict, all but ensuring that his successor will be chosen from a group of like-minded prelates.

Saturday's consistory marks the first time in decades that not a single European or Italian has been made a cardinal — a statistic that has not gone unnoticed in Italy. Italy still has the lions' share of cardinals, though, with 28 voting-age "princes" of the church.

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