Nov. 24 - Pope Benedict appoints six non-European ''princes'' of the Roman Catholic Church in a ceremony in St Peter's Basilica. Rough Cut (no reportyer narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Pope Benedict elevated six non-European prelates to the high rank of Roman Catholic cardinal on Saturday, chipping away at the old continent's domination of the elite group that will one day elect his successor. The new cardinals, ranging in age from 53 to 72, are from the United States, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Lebanon and Colombia, and the decision to choose no Italians or Europeans looked like an attempt to counter criticism that he has in the past neglected the needs of the developing world. Elevating the new "princes" in a solemn ceremony known as a consistory in St Peter's Basilica, Benedict said his appointments reflected "that the Church is the Church of all peoples". "It presents a variety of faces, because it expresses the face of the universal Church. In this Consistory, I want to highlight in particular the fact that the Church is the Church of all peoples, and so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents, amid the polyphony of the various voices, she raises a single harmonious song to the living God," he said in his sermon. The new cardinals are American Archbishop James Michael Harvey, Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, a major archbishop of the Syro-Malankara rite in India, Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church in Lebanon, and Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja. All six are "cardinal electors," those under 80 years old and therefore eligible to enter a conclave that will one day choose Benedict's successor. Benedict gave the new cardinals their ring and traditional red "biretta," or hat. He reminded them that they wear red vestments because they must be ready to defend the faith "even to the shedding of your blood". The Pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women priests. Each time he names cardinals he chooses men who share his views and can shape the Church's future. Cardinals are the pope's closest aides in the Vatican, where they run its key departments, and around the world, where they head dioceses to administer the 1.2 billion members of the Roman Catholic Church.