Six new non-European cardinals named

Nov. 24, 2012 at 8:13 AM
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VATICAN CITY, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Six new Roman Catholic cardinals from six non-European countries were named Saturday in Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI.

The men, who range in age from 53 to 72, are from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines and the United States, the BBC reported.

The pope said the 114-member College of Cardinals "presents a variety of faces because it expresses the face of the universal church," Vatican Radio reported.

The ceremony and mass at St. Peter's Basilica saw the new cardinals receive their red hats, robes and gold rings.

Analysts said it was unusual for a pope to select only cardinals from non-European nations -- each of them potentially the next pope when Benedict dies -- and particularly three from countries with large Muslim and non-Christian populations: India, Lebanon and Nigeria.

Only cardinals under the age of 80 are allowed to vote in the secret ceremony to name a new pope.

Benedict last named 22 new cardinals in February, 16 of them from Europe.

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