.- After the general audience today, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Benedict XVI announced the names of 15 prelates who will be created cardinals in a consistory due to be held on March 24.
Following the March 24 consistory, the first of his pontificate, the College of Cardinals will number 193 members of whom 120, under the age of 80, will be electors.
In announcing the names, the Holy Father affirmed that today's feast is "a particularly appropriate day" to announce the consistory because cardinals "have the duty to help and support Peter's Successor in carrying out the apostolic task entrusted to him in the service of the Church."
"The cardinals," Benedict XVI went on, "constitute a sort of Senate around the Pope upon which he relies in carrying out the duties associated with his ministry as 'permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion'."
The Holy Father also made it clear that with the new appointments he wished "to make up the number of 120 cardinal electors, as established by Pope Paul VI."
Among those being created Cardinals, 12 will be Cardinal electors for being under 80 of age, of which are Archbishop William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., of Boston, are from the United States.
Below the list of the new Cardinals electors. The remaining are mostly european, such as Archbishop Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, France, Archbishop Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain. Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, Former Secretary of Pope John Paul and Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy.
The pope also named three prelates from Asia, Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales of Manila, Philippine, Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, Korea and finally Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B. of Hong Kong, China.
The Pope named only one prelate from Latin America, namely Archbishop Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino of Caracas, Venezuela
The Pope then announced that he had also decided to elevate to the dignity of cardinal "three prelates over the age of 80, in consideration of the service they have rendered to the Church with exemplary faithfulness and admirable dedication." They are Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, Archbishop Peter Poreku Dery, emeritus of Tamale, Ghana and Fr. Albert Vanhoye S.J., formerly rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
The new cardinals, said the Pope, "well reflect the universality of the Church. In fact, they come from various parts of the world and undertake different duties in the service of the People of God. In deed if we look at the distribution by continents, we found 8 europeans, 3 from Asia, two from North America, one from Africa and one from Latin America.
After announcing the names of the 15 new Cardinales the pope invited the faithful present to â raise a special prayer to the Lord for them, that He may concede them the grace necessary to carry out their mission with generosity."
In closing, the Holy Father expressed his intention to preside at a concelebration with the new Cardinals on the day following the consistory, March 25 and Solemnity of the Annunciation. "For that occasion I will invite all members of the College of Cardinals, with whom I also intend to hold a meeting of reflection and prayer on March 23," the day prior to the consistory.The Consistory will be organized on three days, with one day of prayer prior to the consistory, which is a novelty.