Ikeja - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday in Rome, Italy, announced the
appointment of Archbishop John Onaiyekan of the Catholic Archdiocese of
Abuja as a Cardinal-elect.
Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, of the Oyo Diocese and Chairman, Social
Communications Committee, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria,
(CBCN) confirmed the appointment in an e-mail sent to the News Agency of
Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Badejo, who is currently attending a conference alongside other
bishops and lay faithful in Rome, said that the Pope would formally
inaugurate the new cardinals-elect on Nov. 24 in Rome.
He disclosed that five other Cardinals were appointment, including
Archbishop James Michael Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical Household;
His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites
Others are His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major
Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars (India); Archbishop Ruben
Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogotá (Colombia); and Archbishop Luis
Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila (Philippines).
NAN reports that Cardinals have the task of helping the Pope who is usually Apostle Peter's successor carry out his mission.
NAN also recalls that it is from the College of Cardinals that a new Pope is usually elected after the death of the incumbent.
Cardinals below the age of 80 are eligible to vote and be voted for during the election of a new pope.
NAN reports that before now, the Catholic Church in Nigeria had produced
three Cardinals including, the late Dominic Cardinal Ekandem, Francis
Cardinal Arinse and Anthony Cardinal Okogie.
Both Arinse and Okogie had resigned after they had attained 75
years, the age set for cardinals, archbishops and bishops to retire from
their pastoral care, as head of their dioceses.
It would also be recalled that the two Cardinals were appointment by late Pope John Paul II.
While Arinze was appointed in April, 1985, Okogie, on his part was appointed in Oct. 2003.