Pope Benedict XVI this week announced the creation of 24 new cardinals, four from Africa.
The four new princes from the Africa are: Cardinal-designate Medardo Joseph Mazombwe of Zambia 79, Cardinal-designate Antonios Naguib, 75, Cardinal-designate Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, 71 and Cardinal-designate Robert Sarah, 65.
A consistory, the event in which new members formally enter the College of Cardinals, is set for November 20th in Rome. It will be the third consistory of Benedicts papacy, after previous editions in March 2006 and November 2007.
Twenty of the new cardinals are under the age of 80, and thus eligible to vote for the next pope.
Prior to the nominations, 102 of 179 living cardinals were electors. Benedict XVI is determined to honour the tradition, set by Pope Paul VI, of capping the number of cardinal-electors at 120.
Four of the new cardinals are considered honorary appointments, meaning cardinals already over the age of 80 and hence given the red hat largely to honor their service to the church.
Cardinal-designate Medardo Joseph Mazombwe of Zambia 79.
For the first time in the history of Zambia, an indigenous Zambian becomes Cardinal The first and only cardinal in Zambia was the late Adam Cardinal Koz owiecki appointed by the late Pope John Paul II.
Archbishop Medardo Mazombwe who recently celebrated 50 years as a priest, was born on 24 Sep 1931 at Chipata, Eastern Province. He was ordained a Catholic priest on 4th September 1960 and become Bishop of Chipata on 7 Feb 1971. Between 1996 and 2006, he was the Archbishop of Lusaka until his retirement in 2006.
The cardinal elect and former Archbishop of Lusaka, has held several senior positions in the local and regional church, such as Zambia Episcopal President (1972 - 1975; 1988 - 1990 and 1999 2002), and as Chairman of the regional conferences under Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (A.M.E.C.E.A.) (1979 1986)
He is an ardent campaigner who tirelessly advocated for Zambia's debt cancellation in the mid 80s, through the Jubilee movement campaign and is currently spearheading several new developmental projects in many parts of the country including the Mumpanshya area in Chongwe District.
Cardinal-designate Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya
Congolese Cardinal-designate Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, 71, is a biblical scholar and an activist on justice and peace issues.
He is president of the Congolese bishops' conference and co-president of Pax Christi International, the Catholic peace organization.
With the Vatican's blessing, in the 1990s he took an active role in mediating his country's political crisis and trying to guide the nation to a new democratic constitution. In 1991, he was elected president of the Sovereign National Conference; from 1992 to 1994 he served as president of the High Council of the Republic; and in1994-1995 he served as speaker of the country's transitional parliament.
Born in Mongobele, he attended the minor seminary of the Inongo Diocese before entering the major seminary at Kabwe. Sent to Rome in 1960, he studied theology at the Pontifical Urbanian University and was ordained in Rome Dec. 21, 1963. From 1964 to 1970, he studied at Rome's Pontifical Biblical Institute, earning a doctorate in biblical sciences.
He was named auxiliary bishop of Inongo in 1980, auxiliary bishop of Kisangani in 1980 and archbishop of Kisangani in 1988. Pope Benedict XVI named him archbishop of Kinshasa in 2007.
Cardinal-designate Antonios Naguib
Egyptian Cardinal-designate Antonios Naguib, 75, is the Coptic Catholic patriarch of Alexandria and leader of a church that has about 163,000 members, mainly in Egypt. The patriarch was at the Vatican when Pope Benedict XVI announced he would be a cardinal because he was serving as the recording secretary of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.
Born in Samalout, Egypt, he studied at the Maadi seminary outside Cairo as well as at the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome. Ordained to the priesthood in 1960, he served as a parish priest in Fikriyah, Egypt, for a year before returning to Rome to complete degrees in theology and in Scripture.
He taught sacred Scripture at the Maadi seminary for 13 years and was elected bishop of Minya, Egypt, in 1977. He retired in 2002 and, according to the biography the Vatican press office released Oct. 20, he had "a period of rest" until he was elected patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church in 2006. He currently serves as president of the assembly of the Catholic hierarchy of Egypt.
Cardinal-designate Robert Sarah
Cardinal-designate Robert Sarah, 65, retired archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, has been a member of the Roman Curia for several years, most of them as a leader in evangelization. Born in Ourous, Guinea, he was educated in seminaries in Guinea, France and Senegal. He earned a degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and another in Scripture from the Franciscan biblical institute in Jerusalem.
He was ordained in 1969, after which he served as rector of the minor seminary of Kindia in his home country and was pastor at several local parishes. He was consecrated a bishop at the age of 34 and was at the time the youngest bishop in the world.
In 2001, he was named secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the church's missionary agency, by Pope John Paul II. He was appointed president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican's charity office, Oct. 7. The office coordinates Catholic charitable giving, distributes funds in the name of the pope and identifies Catholic projects that need special help.
It has been a longstanding tradition of the Catholic Church to elevate certain outstanding bishops and archbishops to the position of cardinal. Fondly known as the "Princes of the Church", cardinals assist the Holy Father in the governance of the Church.
Cardinals serve as papal advisors and hold positions of authority with the structure of the Catholic Church. Upon creation, a Cardinal automatically becomes a member of the College of Cardinals. The body or College of Cardinals is the one empowered to elect among itself someone to become Pope. Nevertheless however, on turning 80 a cardinal loses this right of election.
The new cardinals are, in the order Pope Benedict announced their names:
1. Angelo Amato (Italy), Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
2. Antonios Naguib (Egypt), Patriarch of the Coptic Church of Alexandria
3. Robert Sarah (Guinea), President of Cor Unum
4. Francesco Monterisi (Italy), Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul
5. Fortunato Baldelli (Italy), head of the Apostolic Penitentiary
6. Raymond Burke (United States), Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
7. Kurt Koch (Switzerland), President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
8. Paolo Sardi (Italy), Pro-Patron of the Order of Malta
9. Mauro Piacenza (Italy), Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy
10. Velasio De Paolis (Italy), President of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs for the Holy See
11. Gianfranco Ravasi (Italy), President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
12. Medardo Joseph Mazombwe (Zambia), retired Archbishop of Lusaka
13. Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga (Ecuador), Archbishop of Quito
14. Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (Democratic Republic of Congo), Archbishop of Kinshasa
15. Paolo Romeo (Italy), Archbishop of Palermo
16. Donald Wuerl (United States), Archbishop of Washington
17. Raymundo Damasceno Assis (Brazil), Archbishop of Aparecida
18. Kazimierz Nycz (Poland), Archbishop of Warsaw
19. Albert Malcolm Ranjith (Sri Lanka), Archbishop of Colombo
20. Reinhard Marx (Germany), Archbishop of Munich
The four over-eighty honorary cardinals are:
1. Elio Sgreccia (Italy), former president of the Pontifical Academy for Life
2. Jose' Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spain), of the Military Ordinariate
3. Walter Brandmüller (Germany), former head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science
4. Domenico Bartolucci (Italy), former Maestro of the Sistine Chapel
Half of the new cardinals named this week are Vatican officials, meaning that there are now forty current or former Vatican officials among those under 80, representing one-third of the electorate for the next pope.
All told, Pope Benedict XVI has now appointed 50 of the roughly 120 cardinals who will elect his successor.