Bruce Johnston on some intriguing additions to the college of cardinals THE GERMAN BISHOP who suggested the Pope could retire was unexpectedly named a cardinal on Sunday.
Bishop Karl Lehmann of Mainz, a leading German liberal bishop was among five new cardinals announced by Pope John Paul 11 after his weekly Angelus message.
The announcement surprised Vatican watchers as it came just a week after the Pope disclosed the times of 37 priests and bishops who will be made cardinals this month at the biggest consistory in living memory.
The second list of nominations means that the College of Cardinals will swell to a record 185 members. Of these, 135 who are under 80 years old will be eligible to vote for a papal successor in an eventual conclave.
Under rules laid down by Pope Paul VI, the maximum number of voting cardinals is 120, meaning that the regulations will have to be temporarily adjusted.
Cardinal-designate Karl Lehmann, 64, recently reelected president of the German bishops' conference, came to worldwide attention last year when he suggested the Pope might retire because of ill health. His nomination on Sunday was said to have been a last minute addition to a list which Vatican watchers had predicted would number only six bishops.
Bishop Lehmann, described by some as a "soft" version of the radical liberal theologian Hans Ming, has often taken a different line from the Pope and his doctrinal chief, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, on issues such as communion for remarried divorced Catholics and contraception. He was also involved in delicate negotiations with the Vatican over whether the German Church should continue to run pregnancy advisory centres which gave women certificates to have abortions.
It has been suggested in Rome that he was made a cardinals as a conciliatory gesture to liberals concerned at the dominance of conservatives in the college.
Bishop Lehmann said of his nomination: "I've always followed my own road and it is for this reason that I am very happy, because my work has been recognised."
His nomination is also believed to balance that of a second German bishop, Archbishop Johannes Joachim Degenhardt of Paderborn, who was also named on Sunday.
The 74-year-old arch
bishop has been a strong public supporter of Pope John Paul 11 and sided with the pontiff during the longrunning dispute over the pregnancy advisory centres.
On Sunday, the Pope also announced the names of two bishops who had been made cardinals in pectore — without their names being disclosed — at an earlier consistory.
One was Latin-rite Archbishop Marian Jaworski, 74, of Lviv in the Ukraine, a personal friend of Pope John Paul II since they were young priests.
The other was Archbishop Janis Pujats, 70, of Riga who helped Latvia's 400,000 Catholics survive communist persecution.
The five new cardinals included Archbishop Lubomyr Husar of Lviv, 67, leader of the Ukraine's Eastern-rite Catholics. The Pope said that he had honoured the archbishop, who succeeded Cardinal Myroslay Lubachivsky after the latter's death in December, because he represented a local church "which, especially in the course of the 20th century, was severely tried" and had offered a witness of faith to the world.
The number of new Latin American cardinals increased to 11, when the Pope gave the red hat to Archbishop Julio Terrazas Sandoval, 64, of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
The pontiff also nominated the South African Archbishop Wilfrid Fox Napier, 59, of Durban. Archbishop Napier, a Franciscan, was president of the South African bishops' conference in the years when the country abolished apartheid and elected its first black president, Nelson Mandela.
Since 1998, he has been an influential adviser to the Vatican's congregation for the evangelisation of the peoples.
The 44 new cardinals announced in January are expected to be given their red hats on February 21, the Feast of the Chair of St Peter.
111 THE VATICAN City is
expected to publish a new constitution in the next few days, which will recognise the fundamental rights of its citizens and of those who live and work in the state.
The new text will make a clearer distinction between the legislative, executive, and judicial powers and bring the government of Vatican City into closer relationship with the Vatican Secretariat of State.
The Vatican City was made a sovereign state by the Lateran Concordat of 1929.