VATICAN CITY — Six new cardinals have joined the elite club of red-robed churchmen who will elect the next pope, bringing a more geographically diverse mix into the European-dominated College of Cardinals.
Pope Benedict XVI presided over the ceremony Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica to formally elevate the six men, who hail from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines and the United States. As Benedict read each name aloud in Latin, applause and cheers erupted from the pews.
Benedict has said that with this “little consistory,” he was essentially completing his last cardinal-making ceremony held in February, when he elevated 22 cardinals, the vast majority of them European archbishops and Vatican bureaucrats.
Benedict said Saturday that the new cardinals represent the “unique, universal and all-inclusive identity” of the Catholic Church.