Pope Paul sprang a surprise on Monday (24 May) by including the 76-year old Archbishop of Hanoi among 20 new Roman Catholic Cardinals.
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Background: Pope Paul sprang a surprise on Monday (24 May) by including the 76-year old Archbishop of Hanoi among 20 new Roman Catholic Cardinals.
The Vietnamese Archbishop, Monsignor Trin Nhu Khue, looked a frail and bemused figure as a roar of approval greeted his appointment at a colourful ceremony in the Vatican's modern audience hall, attended by over 6,000 people. He was one of two new cardinals whom the Pope had appointed "in pectore" -- in secret -- last month. Their identities had been expected to remain unannounced and one is in fact still being kept secret.
Sources quoted by Reuters said that it was understood the Vatican feared the Archbishop would not have been granted a visa to leave Vietnam if his appointment had been disclosed previously.
11 of the new Cardinals installed on Monday came from developing countries, making the 138-man College of Cardinals more representative of the world's 650 million Roman Catholics.
There are now 120 Cardinals under the age of 80 who re eligible to elect the next Pope after Paul's death. The College is made up of 70 European,s 12 Africans, 15 North Americans, 23 Central and South Americans, 12 from Asia, five from the Pacific region and one remaining "in pectore" Cardinal.
Each of the new Cardinals received his biretta (four-cornered hat) personally from the Pope, who was seated on a high-backed throne on a raised platform. After kneeling in homage before the Pontiff, the Cardinals greeted each member of the College personally in symbolic embrace, before taking a seat on Pope Paul's right.