RADIO VATICANA REPORT:
Pope Benedict XVI created 24 new cardinals on Saturday, raising the number of Cardinals to 203, of whom 121 are under 80 and eligible to enter a conclave to elect a new pope. During a solemn public consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict read the names of the 24 Cardinals in Latin.The new group of cardinals includes heads of Vatican dicasteries; archbishops of major cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas; and retired prelates honoured for their lifelong service to the church.Pope Benedict XVI told the men they must devote themselves totally to the church and to Christ. In his homily, he asked the faithful to pray for them, saying:“Let the Lord's spirit support these new cardinals in the commitment of service to the church, following Christ of the Cross even if necessary to shed their blood”The Pope reminded the Cardinals that all are called, and all are aided by Divine Grace, adding “this is [their] security. Just listen again to the words of Jesus, asking, "Come, follow me", only by returning to this original vocation is it possible to understand our mission in the Church as true disciples.”This is the third consistory in Pope Benedict’s pontificate. In the current Cardinals, he has named 59 members.