Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New cardinals, new wardrobe, oh boy!

Bettnet reports on the new cardinals appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Traditionally, they are "the princes of the Church," the honorary clergy of the Bishop of Rome. They are ranked as cardinal deacons, cardinal priests, and cardinal bishops. When their bishop dies, they administer the affairs of the Church, and elect his successor amongst themselves. That man is elected first and foremost as Bishop of Rome, who by virtue of that appointment becomes the Successor to St Peter, and thus the Supreme Pontiff, Vicar of Christ on Earth... in short, the Pope.

Most of the appointments were safe bets, but there were a few surprises. Levada, formerly Archbishop of San Francisco and now prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the current Pope's former position) has been controversial since he left the States -- after all, he's not universally hailed for clarity of Catholicity -- and this won't help. Vatican-watcher Rocco Palma provides the complete list.

What once was a predominantly Italian crowd has become more international in recent years, and this latest round of "red hats" reinforces that. In the years to come, most Catholics will live below, and not above, the Equator.

It could happen.

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