Pope Names New Cardinals; O'Malley Not Included

Providence Journal [Vatican City]
Downloaded September 28, 2003

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II named 30 new cardinals on Sunday, including Philadelphia archbishop Justin Rigali, further putting his mark on the group that will name his successor.

Not on the list of new cardinals was Boston's new archbishop, Sean O'Malley, the replacement of Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as archbishop amid public outcry over a sex abuse scandal.

The ailing, 83-year-old pope also designated a 31st cardinal but did not name him. That man was named "in pectore," or close to his heart, a term used for prelates in a country where the church is oppressed.

Even as Vatican City - along with most of Italy - was without power from a massive blackout, the pope read the list out from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square to pilgrims and tourists gathered for his traditional Sunday greeting. His voice was amplified with a backup generator provided at the last moment by Italy's RAI state television.

The College of Cardinals is already mainly made up of like-minded conservatives reflecting John Paul's choices during his 25-year-papacy. The new batch will further strengthen the pope's influence on the choice of his successor.

Prior to Sunday's announcement, the college had 164 members - 109 of them under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. Of the eligible voters, all but five were named by John Paul.

Italian and Catholic media had widely expected the pope to include O'Malley, who has been working quickly to settle lawsuits brought by victims of clerical abuse and to bring some normalcy back to the archdiocese.

No explanation was given. But John Paul may have passed over O'Malley because he was reluctant to name a cardinal from Boston while Law is still of election age and serving on several Vatican commissions.

However, there is precedent: The pope gave Vienna Archbishop Christoph Schoenborn his red hat in February, 1998 while his predecessor, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, was still of voting age. Groer had been forced to relinquish his duties as Vienna Archbishop in 1998 because of a sex scandal.

O'Malley issued a statement Sunday morning calling Rigali "a very gifted man of vast experience" and congratulating the new cardinals.

John Paul will elevate the group at a consistory on Oct. 21, giving the new "princes" of the church their red hats at a ritual-filled ceremony coinciding with the celebrations marking his 25th anniversary as pope.

Inside the Vatican press room, journalists huddled with candles and flashlights to read the list. Only a few copies of the list had been made before the power went out early Sunday, shutting down the Vatican's copy machines.

Among the new cardinals are archbishops from Nigeria, France, Sudan, Spain, Scotland, Brazil, Ghana, India, Australia, Croatia, Vietnam, Guatemala, Hungary, Canada and Italy. Rigali is the only American on the list.

Rigali, 68, is a native of Los Angeles who was previously archbishop of St. Louis. He is a conservative and has championed two of the pope's favorite causes - publicly condemning abortion and the death penalty. He rarely speaks in public.

St. Louis Archidocese Vicar General Monsignor Richard Stika described Rigali's reaction Sunday as "humble excitement."

"He's a very humble man, a very prayerful man, and he's totally committed to the Gospel. I think this will bring a smile to his face, but he's a bishop, he's there for the people," Stika said, adding that Rigali was unavailable for comment.

The new cardinals named on Sunday brought the number of voting-age cardinals over the 120 maximum electors. However, John Paul has previously exceeded that number in prior consistories.

In addition to the newly named Philadelphia archbishop, John Paul also named some top Vatican officials as cardinals, including the French-born foreign minister Jean-Louis Tauran and prelates from Spain, Mexico, Japan and Italy. Many of the new cardinals occupy diocesan or Vatican positions that traditionally come with the red hat.

John Paul had long been expected to name additional cardinals, wanting to add more of his personal touch to the group that will eventually elect his successor - particularly as his health deteriorates.

The last time John Paul held a consistory was in February 2001. This will be the ninth consistory of his pontificate.

Vatican officials had previously said no consistory was expected before the end of the year, with February 2004 mentioned as a possible date. No explanation was given for why it was moved up.

However, Vatican officials said privately that with the College of Cardinals and head of national bishops conferences already coming to Rome for pontiff's anniversary celebrations - as well as his declining health - an October consistory seemed opportune.

The pope suffers from Parkinson's disease as well as debilitating hip and knee ailments that make it almost impossible for him to walk. During his recent trip to Slovakia, he was unable to finish his speeches, and just this week had to miss his weekly Wednesday audience because of an intestinal problem.

The Oct. 21 consistory will cap an enormously busy week for the pope, which kicks off with an evening Mass on Oct. 16 - the anniversary of his election as pope - as well as the beatification of Mother Teresa three days later. In between, he will have other public appearances and speeches, and now will preside over the lengthy consistory.


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