Pope appoints 22 'young' cardinals bring youth

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The Independent Online
Pope John Paul, putting perhaps one of his last stamps on the Roman Catholic Church, yesterday named 22 new cardinals, the elite group of prelates who can choose a new pontiff after his death.

The ceremony to consecrate them, known as a consistory, will be held on 21 February. It will be the Pope's seventh, and perhaps the last consistory of his reign, now in its 20th year.

With the new nominations, the Pope has named nearly 90 per cent of the 123 cardinal electors. This increases the possibility that his successor will be a conservative in his own image who will not change controversial Church teachings.

Some observers say the next pope may be chosen from those named yesterday because many existing cardinals are getting old. One of the rumoured "papabili" is Christoph Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna, 53.

The new cardinals include Francis Eugene George, Archbishop of Chicago, Archbishop Serafim Fernandes de Araujo of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Archbishop Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid, Archbishop Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic of Toronto, Canada and Archbishop Jean Balland of Lyon, France.

- Reuters, Vatican City