VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI named 24 new cardinals Wednesday, putting his mark on the body that will elect his successor and giving a boost to Italian hopes to regain the papacy.
Among the new cardinals are two Americans and prelates from key posts in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
Benedict said the new “princes of the church” will be formally elevated at a ceremony in Rome on Nov. 20, making the announcement “with joy” at the end of his weekly public audience.
The new cardinals include Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., and Archbishop Raymond Burke, an American who leads the Vatican’s supreme court and has been sharply critical of the U.S. Democratic Party for its support of abortion rights.
With the church rocked by a global clerical sex abuse crisis, Benedict named as cardinal in Munich, his former diocese, Archbishop Reinhard Marx, who has been prominent in efforts to clean up the scandal in Germany. The 57-year-old Marx, the youngest of the new cardinals, was behind efforts to force out a bishop accused of physical abuse of children.
Among those passed over was New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who has headed the diocese since 2009, when he succeeded Cardinal Edward Egan.