New Cardinals Reflect 'Old Europe'

The Universality of the Church,” proclaimed the headline across the top of the Vatican newspaper as it announced Pope Benedict XVI’s choice of 24 new cardinals from 13 different countries. Yet those expecting the cardinal selections to further globalize the College of Cardinals were no doubt disappointed. Fifteen of the 24 new cardinals are European; 10 are from Italy; and 14 are current or former officials of the Roman Curia. Instead of expanding the geographical reach of the college, the pope appeared to be pulling it back to its historical base in Rome and Europe. Europeans will now make up a majority of voters in a potential conclave, with 62 of the 121 cardinals under the age of 80. Roman Curia officials will make up 30 percent of the cardinal-voters.

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