February 24, 2014 08:35
Pope Emeritus Benedict made a surprise appearance at a ceremony Saturday at which his successor Pope Francis elevated 19 prelates to the rank of cardinal.
The new "princes of the church" received gold rings and scarlet, three-cornered caps known as red birettas at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica.
Pope Emeritus Benedict sat in the front row at the ceremony. When he entered St. Peter's, he was greeted with applause and tears from the audience.
This is the first time Pope Francis has chosen cardinals. Analysts said his choices should speak to the perceived bias the Catholic church seemed to have toward European cardinals. Several of the prelates come from South American, Asia and Africa.
Chibly Langlois will be the church's first cardinal from Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Most of the new cardinals are under the age of 80, likely enabling them to take part in the secretive conclave that elects new popes from among their ranks.
The oldest "new prince" is Loris Francesco Capovilla, the 98-year-old former secretary to Pope John the 23rd.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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