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Pope Installs New Princes of Catholic Church


Newly-appointed cardinal John Tong, of Hong Kong, left, is congratulated by other cardinals after being elevated in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, February 18, 2012.

Newly-appointed cardinal John Tong, of Hong Kong, left, is congratulated by other cardinals after being elevated in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, February 18, 2012.

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.

After the ceremony, Dolan said his installation as a cardinal was "a great day for all of New York. This is the hat (referencing his biretta) I want to put on the Empire State Building and the home plate of Yankee Stadium and the Statue of Liberty. So, because it's for all of New York, it's not for me."

He also noted the affirmation of new saints, both from New York.

Marianne Cope cared for lepers in Hawaii in the late 19th century. Kateri Tekakwitha was a 17th century Mohawk Indian from upstate New York who converted to Catholicism. She will be the Catholic church’s first Native American saint.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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