A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Thursday, February 23, 2006

New American Cardinals

USAToday.com: Pope names two Americans among 15 new cardinals---

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday named 15 cardinals, a pope's closest advisers. The list includes the archbishop of Boston, Sean O'Malley, and the former archbishop of San Francisco, William Levada, who holds an influential post in Vatican bureaucracy, the pope's old job as enforcer of church doctrine.

Calling the group his "senate," Benedict named archbishops of some of the world's largest and most historic cities and leaders of key positions in the Roman curia, which governs the worldwide church.

The new "princes of the church" will formally join the College of Cardinals in a Vatican ceremony, called a consistory, on March 24 when they will receive official regalia such as the familiar red hats. Twelve are under age 80 and eligible to vote for the next pope.

Benedict chose archbishops in places where the church's authority, teachings, and spiritual influence face challenges, says Matthew Bunson, editor of The Catholic Almanac. "These are people for whom the red hat gives the church additional clout where it will be valued, from Asia to Boston."

O'Malley, 61, a Capuchin Franciscan friar, replaced Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as archbishop after revelations of mismanagement in Boston, the epicenter of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

It wasn't the first time he was called on to calm a troubled diocese. O'Malley served in Fall River, Mass., in the wake of an abuse scandal in the 1980s, then in Palm Beach, Fla., where the previous bishop resigned after admitting sexual relations with an adult seminarian. In Boston, O'Malley has overseen $85 million in settlements with abuse accusers and a reorganization of the archdiocese.

Levada, 69, replaced Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now pope) in May as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the arm of the church that oversees adherence to church teachings.