Pope Benedict XVI has announced that New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan will be among the 22 prelates elevated to the position of cardinal by the Roman Catholic Church, on 18th February.

AP reports that Pope Benedict announced his plans on Friday morning. having celebrated Epiphany Mass, marking the end of the Vatican’s Christmas celebrations. He said it filled him “with great joy” to make the announcement.

Speaking to the congregation at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at Mass on Friday morning Dolan said "Yes, I'm honored, humbled and grateful. But let's be frank. This is not about Timothy Dolan. This is an honor from the Holy Father to the archdiocese of New York.

"It's almost as if Pope Benedict XVI is putting the red hat of the cardinal on the top of the Empire State Building or upon the Statue of Liberty or home plate at Yankee Stadium or on the spires of this great St. Patrick's Cathedral."

Cardinals act as key advisers to the Pope and are members of the group that will eventually elect Benedict's successor in a papal conclave.

The prelates who will be elevated to cardinal hail from New York, Hong Kong, Berlin, Prague, Toronto, Florence, and key Vatican offices. Only 18 among the 22 selected are under the age of 80.

This ceremony will raise the number of cardinals, eligible to vote in a papal conclave, to 125.


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