Pope Benedict XVI named six new cardinals on Wednesday, hailing from Lebanon, the Philippines, Nigeria, Colombia, India and the United States.
Among the new senior churchmen who will be responsible for electing the pope's successor is Archbishop James Harvey, the American prefect of the papal household whom the pope also named archpriest of a Roman basilica, according to the Associated Press. Harvey was the direct superior of the pope's former butler, Paolo Gabriele, who was convicted October 6 of stealing the pope’s private papers and leaking them to a reporter.
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The Roman Catholic Church leader announced the appointments during his general audience Wednesday, reported Voice of America. The announcement came after the deaths of several cardinals in recent months. The appointment ceremony, known as a consistory, will take place on November 24.
All six new cardinals are under 80 years old, making them eligible under Catholic Church law to vote in the papal elections, according to Reuters. There are now 122 men who can enter a conclave that will one day choose Benedict's successor.
The AP noted that aside from Harvey, the new cardinals are: Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan; Archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, Ruben Salazar Gomez; Archbishop of Manila, Philippines, Luis Antonio Tagle; 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.