WASHINGTON –– Clergy and laity alike praised the naming of new cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI.20120106cnsbr08239Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York smiles as he addresses the news media at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York Jan. 6. He is among 22 new cardinals named that day by Pope Benedict XVI. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

“This is an honor for these outstanding church leaders as well as an honor for the church in the United States,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., in a Jan. 6 statement. “As men of prayer, wisdom and dedication, they will bring many talents and graces to their new roles as advisers to the Holy Father,” said the archbishop, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, outgoing archbishop of Baltimore who was recently appointed pro-grand master of the Rome-based Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, were among the 22 cardinals named Jan. 6 by Pope Benedict.

“As president of the USCCB and as former president of Catholic Relief Services, Cardinal-designate Dolan has brought both energy and grace to international and domestic matters,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

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“Cardinal-designate O’Brien’s experience with the military has made him a valuable consultant on USCCB justice and peace efforts,” he added. “His seminary background has proven especially insightful in development of our priestly formation programs.”

Cardinal Edward M. Egan, Cardinal-designate Dolan’s predecessor in New York, said in a Jan. 6 statement from Rome that he had received a phone call from his successor with the news.

“I extended my heartfelt congratulations and assured him of my prayers,” Cardinal Egan added. “This is wonderful news for the cardinal-designate and for the entire community of faith he serves so well.”

Cardinal-designate Dolan himself said in a Jan. 6 statement that he was “honored, humbled and grateful” at the honor. “This is about an affirmation of love from the pope to a celebrated archdiocese and community,” he added, “and a summons to its unworthy archbishop to serve Jesus, his church universal, his vicar on earth and his people better.”

“This news is a wonderful recognition of both bishops and their gifts and abilities, as well as an honor for the church in the United States,” said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington in a Jan. 6 statement. “The universal church is well served by these faithful and dedicated leaders.”

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston said in a Jan. 6 statement that the two new U.S. cardinals-designate “will provide the Holy Father valuable guidance and assistance through their long-standing dedication to the work of the church. … We join the Catholic community throughout the United States in congratulating Cardinal-designate Dolan and Cardinal-designate O’Brien and assure them of our prayers and best wishes as they prepare for the upcoming consistory,” set for Feb. 18.

The Catholic University of America in Washington was quick to point out its ties to the two new U.S. cardinals-designate, noting that Cardinal-designate O’Brien currently serves on the school’s board of trustees, while Cardinal-designate Dolan was a former board member and a “double alumnus” of the university.

“I am delighted by the news that two leaders of the Catholic Church with close ties to The Catholic University of America will be installed as cardinals of the Catholic Church,” said a Jan. 6 statement by John Garvey, university president.

“This is truly a great day for the Catholic Church in New York, and across the U.S. and, indeed, the world, and a wonderful way to ring in the new year,” said a Jan. 6 statement by Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference.

Barnes noted that Cardinal-designate O’Brien is a native of the Bronx, one of New York City’s five boroughs, and a former priest and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York. He also lauded the selection of Cardinal-designate Dolan.

“With his infectious joy, brilliant intellect and enthusiastic love of the Lord and his people, Cardinal-designate Dolan is truly a bright light in the American church,” Barnes said. “He already has become the face of the church in the United States. Now as a ‘prince of the church,’ his influence will truly extend worldwide.”

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn also noted the New York ties of both new U.S. cardinals-designate in a Jan. 6 statement. “It is a privilege not only for these exceptional leaders in the church, but also for us in the city of New York, which in the past has made a great contribution to the church in the United States and continues to do so today,” he said.

Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, congratulated Cardinal-designate O’Brien, who serves as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Baltimore while waiting for his successor to be named.

He has been “a vocal and passionate advocate in the public square, and a highly regarded champion of the poor, the unborn, the immigrant, the prisoner on death row, the importance of marriage and the family, and the rights of students in our Catholic schools,” Russell said in a Jan. 6 statement. “At the same time, he has also strongly supported efforts to assist and encourage the church’s pastors and other leaders, and all Catholics in Maryland, to exercise their rights and responsibilities as faithful citizens.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, offered his congratulations to the new cardinals-designate in a Jan. 6 statement.

“I want to congratulate the new cardinals, but more importantly, to assure them of our union with them in the defense of our unborn brothers and sisters … unto the shedding of our blood, which is what the bright red color of cardinals signifies,” Fr. Pavone said.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services congratulated Cardinal-designate O’Brien, his predecessor in the post. “His serious commitment to the priesthood impressed me when I first met him in 1973,” Archbishop Broglio said in a Jan. 7 statement. “His outstanding leadership qualities and professional preparation will be of immense benefit to the College of Cardinals and the church at large.”

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles praised the two U.S. cardinals-designate as “prayerful and compassionate men” in a Jan. 6 statement. “Both possess a deep knowledge of the issues affecting the church and civil society,” he said. “I am confident that they will be very helpful advisers to our Holy Father and the universal church in the years ahead.”

Fr. Jeffrey Steenson, head of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, created for former Anglican parishes and individuals, said in a Jan. 6 statement, “The United States is particularly blessed to have two caring and gentle shepherds among those to be elevated in the consistory” in Cardinals-designate Dolan and O’Brien. “We will keep them in our prayers and we ask our Lord’s blessings on them.”

David Michaels, director of United Nations and intercommunal affairs for B’nai B’rith International, congratulated Cardinal-designate Dolan on his selection. “Cardinal-designate Dolan, despite uncommon responsibilities, has brought great vigor, warmth and spirit to his relationship with Jews in New York and beyond,” Michaels said in a Jan. 6 statement. “With his consistent focus and accessibility, he has indeed strengthened the Catholic-Jewish bond that is so vital.”

Canadian Cardinal-designate Thomas Collins, archbishop of Toronto, was praised by Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Alberta, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. His naming was “a great honor for all the church in our country, as well as indicating the importance of the see of Toronto in the life of the universal church,” Archbishop Smith said in a Jan. 6 statement.

“Cardinal-designate Collins has already provided excellent leadership for the church in Toronto and throughout Canada by his dedication to and involvement in ‘lectio divina'(meditating on Scripture), the quality of his preaching, and for his insistence on safe and secure environments in our communities for the vulnerable and the young,” Archbishop Smith added.

Fr. Andrew Small, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, congratulated both Cardinal-designate Dolan and Cardinal-designate Fernando Filoni, the Italian-born prelate who was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples last May. He had previously been nuncio to Iraq, Jordan and the Philippines.

Cardinal-designate Filoni’s appointment signifies “an affirmation of love from the pope,” Fr. Small said in a Jan. 6 statement, “for the missions, and the pope’s own missionary works.”

Fr. Paul Thelakkat, spokesman for India’s Syro-Malabar Catholics, told Catholic News Service that the elevation of Syro-Malabar Archbishop George Alencherry to the College of Cardinals is “an honor to the Syro-Malabar church.” He added, “This is a recognition to the vibrancy of our church and the church in India as a whole.” There are 3.6 million Syro-Malabar Catholics.