Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vatican newsflash: Pope names six new cardinals, including Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria

Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan
During a synod of bishops that has been somewhat short of banner headlines, Pope Benedict XVI made some news today, announcing a consistory for the creation of six new cardinals on Nov. 24.

The new cardinals are:
  • James Harvey, American, the longtime head of the Papal Household under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, whom the pope said he intends to nominate as Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
  • His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Raï, patriarch of the Maronite Church in Lebanon.
  • His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, head of the Syro-Mankar Church in India.
  • Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, long considered one of the leading voices of Catholicism in Africa.
  • Archbishop Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogota, Colombia.
  • Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in the Philippines, considered one of the brightest theological minds among the Asia bishops and also one of their best communicators.
Tagle, 55, and Onayiekan, 68, both could draw consideration as possible successors to Benedict XVI if the mood at the time of the next conclave is to look for leadership to the booming church in the global south.

Tagle has turned heads during the current Synod of Bishops on New Evangelization for his emphasis on a humbler, simpler church with a greater capacity for silence, while Onayiekan has won praise for his balanced view on Islam – insisting that despite the violence of the “Boko Haram” movement, “Christians in Nigeria do not see themselves as being under any massive persecution by Muslims.”

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