Pope Annoints 22 Cardinals Including Timothy Dolan… Reminds Them Red Symbolizes the Blood of Martyrdom

Pope Benedict XVI annointed 22 cardinals today. The German pope reminded the cardinals that red symbolizes the blood that cardinals must be willing to shed to remain faithful to the church.

Sky News reported:

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday brought 22 Catholic churchmen into the elite club of cardinals who will elect his successor, cementing the Italian majority in a future conclave but also giving New York’s garrulous archbishop a position of prominence.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan emerged as something of the star of the consistory
, delivering a highly praised speech on spreading the faith and mentioned in some Italian media as an improbable ‘papabile’, or having the qualities of a future pope.

Traditionally Americans are ruled out as papal contenders, with the argument that the world doesn’t need a superpower pope. But Dolan’s joyful demeanour seemed to have struck a chord in a Vatican that has been anything but joyful over a rash of news reports about political infighting and financial mismanagement.

‘He certainly is going to be given many responsibilities as a cardinal,’ said the other American who got a red hat Saturday, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the outgoing archbishop of Baltimore.

Asked if he thought Dolan had the stuff to be pope, O’Brien deadpanned: ‘His mother thinks so.’

Dolan artfully dodged the question when asked about the speculation on Saturday by a gaggle of reporters who travelled from the US for the ceremony: ‘Io non parlo inglese,’ he said. (‘I don’t speak English’.)

In all, 22 churchmen got their red hats on Saturday, including the archbishops of Prague, Toronto, Florence, Utrecht and Hong Kong as well as the heads of several Vatican offices.

Seven of the 22 were Italian, adding to the eight voting-age Italian cardinals named at the last consistory in November 2010. As of Saturday, Italy will have 30 cardinals out of the 125 under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a future conclave…

…In remarks at the start of the service, Benedict recalled that the red colour of the three-pointed hat, or biretta, and the scarlet cassock that cardinals wear, symbolises the blood that cardinals must be willing to shed to remain faithful to the church.

‘The new cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for his church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters even unto shedding their blood, if necessary,’ Benedict said.

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