Pope Installs New Princes of the Catholic Church

Posted February 18th, 2012 at 9:35 am (UTC-5)
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An increasingly frail Pope Benedict is leaving his mark on the Catholic Church, installing 22 new cardinals in a ceremony at the Vatican Saturday.

Attendants wheeled the 84 year-old pope into St. Peter's Basilica on a special platform for the ceremony, known as a consistory.

The pope then kneeled in prayer before addressing the audience, telling them “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.”

He then gave each new cardinal a ring and placed a biretta – the special red caps worn by cardinals – on each of their heads.

The 22 new cardinals come from the United States, Hong Kong, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, India, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, and Malta.

Sometimes called princes of the church, the cardinals are responsible for electing the next pope from one of their own.

One of the most prominent of the newly inducted cardinals is New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Some Vatican watchers are touting him as a candidate to become the first American-born pontiff.