.- Pope Benedict XVI named 22 new cardinals on Jan. 6, including two prominent American archbishops.
“This is an honor for these outstanding church leaders as well as an honor for the Church in the United States,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“As men of prayer, wisdom and dedication, they will bring many talents and graces to their new roles as advisors to the Holy Father.”
The Pope also announced a consistory for Feb. 18, at which the new cardinals will be formally elevated to their new rank.
Two Americans – Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, Pro Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem – were included among the nominees. The two men are 61 and 72 years old, respectively.
Archbishop Dolan is the current president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He leads the Archdiocese of New York, home to about 2.6 million Catholics.
Archbishop O’Brien is currently the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, where he served as archbishop from October 2007 until August 2011, when the Holy Father appointed him Pro Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
He will continue to shepherd the Archdiocese of Baltimore until a successor is installed.
In a statement responding to his nomination, Archbishop Dolan said that he is “honored, humbled, and grateful,” but added, “let’s be frank: this is not about Timothy Dolan.”
He explained that the appointment is both “an affirmation of love from the Pope” and a “summons to its unworthy archbishop” to continue serving Christ.
The New York archbishop asked for prayers as he assumes his new role.
Archbishop O’Brien was also quick to deflect attention from himself. “While this honor may be a reflection of my new position, I believe it is also the result of the great collaboration and zealous faith that I have so consistently experienced in the Church in Baltimore,” he said.
“I am grateful to our Holy Father for his confidence in me and pledge my continued support and fraternal love as I continue to serve this historic Archdiocese and the Church in the Holy Land.”
Archbishop Thomas C. Collins of Toronto and Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong were also among the new cardinals, which were announced by Pope Benedict in St. Peter’s Square on Jan. 6, after delivering his midday Angelus address.
Ten of the remaining nominees are from the Roman Curia, including Archbishop Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Cardinals advise the pope and vote in papal elections. However, four of the new cardinals will not be able to vote in the conclave because they are over the 80-year age limit.
On Jan. 6, Pope Benedict XVI also ordained Monsignor Charles Brown an archbishop for his new role as apostolic nuncio, or papal representative, to Ireland.
Archbishop Brown joins Archbishop Dolan and Archbishop O’Brien as a third former New York priest who was honored by the Pope today.
“It’s a great day for New York,” he told CNA, “a triple header!”