Pope Benedict XVI named 24 new cardinals today, the third time during his tenure that he has added to the body of "princes of the church" who will eventually name his successor, reports the AP. The group is mostly Italian, spurring speculation that the papacy could swing back to Italy, and brings the College of Cardinals to 203 members—121 of whom are under age 80 and thus eligible to vote for the next pope. Benedict, 83, now will have directly appointed some 40% of the church's cardinals, very likely sealing his legacy.
"Let the Lord's spirit support these new cardinals in the commitment of service to the church, following Christ of the Cross even if necessary to shed their blood, always ready ... to respond to whatever is asked," Benedict said in his homily.
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