Archbishop of Utrecht Wim Eijk (58) has been created a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI at a ceremony in Rome’s St Peter’s Basilica.
Archbsihop Eijk was one of 22 new cardinals created at the ceremony. Among them were the archbishops of New York, Hong Kong, Berlin, Prague and Florence. After swearing an oath of allegiance, they were presented with a red cardinal’s hat and a gold ring.
Eighteen of the 22 newcomers are under the age of 80, which means they can join the group of 125 cardinals eligible to participate in the conclave that chooses the pontiff's successor. In all, the Church now numbers 213 cardinals, who are seen as the Pope’s closest advisors.
Some media and experts accuse Cardinal Eijk of holding “extremely conservative” and “inflexible” views on sexual matters. As an administrator, he has been blamed for his heavy-handed manner and lack of communication skills. Among conservative Roman Catholics, however, he enjoys considerable popularity.
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