.- On Friday, the Church’s College of Cardinals will grow to 193 members. Among them, a 15 men will travel from various sees around the world to be named the first cardinals of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate.
The Pope will celebrate his first Ordinary Public Consistory at the end of this week, bringing the total number of cardinals eligible to vote for a new pope to 120,
According to Church law, only those under the age of 80, enjoy the right to participate in a papal conclave.
The Consistory will bring the number of cardinals in Europe to 100, 60 of whom have the right to vote. The Americas will now have 52 cardinals (20 from North America and 32 from South America) with 36 electors. Africa will have 17 African cardinals with 9 electors; Asian will have 20, with 13 electors, and Oceania will have four with 2 electors.
After Friday, Italy will remains the home of the world’s largest number of cardinals, 40 in all including three new prelates who will be consecrated on March 24th.
Following Italy, the United States has the second largest number with 15 cardinals, and France and Spain each have nine.
Friday's consistory will follow new rites which were introduced at Pope John Paul II’s June 28th, 1991 ceremony.