22 Cardinals Join Club To Elect Pope's Successor

Published February 18, 2012 9:27AM (EST)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI is bringing 22 new Catholic churchmen into the elite club of cardinals who will elect his successor amid signs the 84-year-old pontiff is slowing down.

Benedict is presiding over a ceremony Saturday in St. Peter's Basilica to formally create the 22 cardinals, who include the archbishops of New York, Prague, Hong Kong and Toronto as well as the heads of several Vatican offices.

The ceremony has been clouded by embarrassing leaks of internal documents alleging financial mismanagement in Vatican affairs, and reports in the Italian media of political jockeying among church officials who, sensing an increasingly weak pontiff, are already preparing for a conclave.

By Salon Staff

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