Pope creates 22 new cardinals amid Vatican tensions

Pope Benedict XVI put his stamp of authority on the body that will elect his successor as he appointed 22 new cardinals.

Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday put
his stamp of authority on the body that will elect his
successor as he appointed 22 new cardinals, including one from
India, at a time of roiling tensions in the Vatican

The 84-year-old pontiff presented the new "princes of the
Church" with scarlet-red birettas and gold rings while urging
them to "renounce the worldly style of power and glory" in a
solemn ceremony in Saint Peter`s Basilica.

The new members of the College of Cardinals "are asked to
serve the Church with love and vigour, with the clarity and
wisdom of teachers, with the energy and moral force of pastors
(and) with the faith and courage of martyrs," the pope said.

The German pope did not refer directly to recent days of
high-profile leaks and corruption allegations that have raised
fears of a power struggle at the heart of the Roman Catholic

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has denied the
rumours, saying that the leaks were intended to "sow
confusion" and cast the Church "in a bad light."

Among the key appointments were those of New York
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins,
as well as the bishop of Hong Kong, John Tong Hon, and
Archbishop George Alencherry from India.

Critics say the appointments show a strong bias towards
Europe, as out of the 125 cardinals under age 80 -- "elector
cardinals" eligible to elect the pope in a secret conclave --
67 are from Europe.

Just 22 are from South America, 15 from North America, 11
from Africa and 10 from Asia and the Pacific.

Moreover, the induction of seven Italians in Benedict`s
fourth consistory brings to 30 the number of Italian elector
cardinals -- almost a quarter of the total, far outweighing
any other country.

The new cardinals include nine other Europeans as well as
two Americans, one Canadian, a Brazilian, an Indian and a Hong
Kong Chinese.