CNSburkecardinalWEBVATICAN CITY –– Pope Benedict XVI named 24 new cardinals, including two from the United States: Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest tribunal, and Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

The pope announced the names at the end of his weekly general audience Oct. 20 and said he would formally install the cardinals during a special consistory at the Vatican Nov. 20.

Cardinal-designate Burke, 62, is prefect of the Vatican’s highest tribunal, the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature. While the court’s work is generally shrouded in secrecy, when it comes to moral and political issues — especially abortion and same-sex marriage — Cardinal-designate Burke is one of the most-outspoken U.S. bishops.

Before the November 2008 U.S. presidential election, he said the Democratic Party “risks transforming itself definitively into a ‘party of death.'”

In 2004, he was the first U.S. bishop to say publicly that he would withhold Communion from Catholic politicians with voting records that contradicted church teaching on fundamental moral issues.

He was serving as archbishop of St. Louis when Pope Benedict XVI named him head of the Apostolic Signature in 2008.

A canon lawyer, the cardinal-designate worked for the court from 1989 to 1994 and was named a member of the body in July 2006. He also served on the Roman Rota, the church’s central appeals court, before being named bishop of La Crosse, Wis., in 1994.

CNSwuerlcardinalWEBA native of Richland Center in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., he did his college and theological studies at Wisconsin’s Holy Cross Seminary, The Catholic University of America in Washington and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest June 29, 1975, by Pope Paul VI in St. Peter’s Basilica.

He returned to Gregorian University from 1980 to 1984 to study canon law and taught there as a visiting professor of canon law from 1984 to 1994, when he was appointed bishop of La Crosse. After serving La Crosse for eight years, he was appointed archbishop of St. Louis in 2003. Cardinal-designate Wuerl of Washington, 69, is known for his commitment to promoting Catholic religious education and Catholic schools. As head of the archdiocese that includes the U.S. capital, he also has been a leader in defending Catholic values in public life.

In November 2009, he was one of more than 140 Christian leaders who signed the “Manhattan Declaration,” pledging renewed zeal in defending the unborn, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and protecting religious freedom.

Within the U.S. bishops’ conference, he serves as chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, chairman-elect of the Committee on Doctrine and chairman of the board of the National Catholic Educational Association. He is author of the best-selling catechisms, “The Teaching of Christ” and “The Catholic Way.”

Born in Pittsburgh, he holds degrees from The Catholic University of America and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in theology from Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas. After studying at Rome’s North American College, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1966. Named auxiliary bishop of Seattle, he was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1986. He resigned the position in 1987 and was named bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988. He was named to Washington in 2006.

The new cardinals come from 13 countries on five continents, and their number included 10 Italians. The pope named 10 Roman Curia officials — a higher number than expected — along with 10 residential archbishops and four prelates over the age of 80. One unusual aspect of the pope’s list was that two of the residential archbishops were retired.

The November ceremony will mark the third time Pope Benedict has created cardinals since his election in April 2005. After the consistory, he will have appointed about 40 percent of the cardinals currently under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.

The elevation of Cardinal-designates Burke and Wuerl will bring the number of U.S. cardinals to 18. Of that number, 13 are voting-age — matching a historically high number for the United States.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York was not on the list of new cardinals; his retired predecessor in New York, Cardinal Edward M. Egan, is still under 80, and tradition generally holds against two voting-age cardinals from the same diocese.

The consistory will leave the College of Cardinals with 203 members, a new record. Of those, 121 will be under age 80, one more than a numerical limit of 120 that has often been waived. Seven cardinals will turn 80 over the next six months.

Pope Benedict’s latest appointments left geographical balances relatively unchanged among voting members of the College of Cardinals, although it bolstered the European presence, which will have 62 of the 121 potential cardinal electors. The new voting-age cardinals included 11 from Europe, 2 from Latin America, 2 from North America, 4 from Africa and 1 from Asia.

Eight of the under-80 cardinals named were Italians, leaving Italy with 25 voting-age cardinals, by far the largest number from a single country. Italy will have 48 cardinals overall.

Ten of the new cardinals are Roman Curia officials, which means that Roman Curia elector cardinals would number 37, about 30 percent of the total.

The pope named four Africans as cardinals, including Coptic Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria, Egypt, who has been in the spotlight recently as the recording secretary for the Oct. 10-24 Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.

Also named were Congolese Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, 71, a biblical scholar and activist in justice and peace issues; Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, 65; and retired Zambian Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, 79, who has helped mediate political disputes in his country.

The pope named a single Asian, a former collaborator in the Roman Curia: Sri Lankan Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don of Colombo, 62. He was formerly a secretary of the Vatican’s worship congregation.

In Latin America, the pope named Brazilian Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, 73, as well as Ecuadorean Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, 76, who retired as archbishop of Quito in September.

European residential archbishops among the new cardinals included Italian Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, 72, Polish Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw, 60, and German Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, 57.

In addition to Cardinal-designates Burke and Sarah, the Roman Curia officials named included Italian Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes; Italian Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy; Swiss Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Italian Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal; and Italian Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, who was recently named as an interim leader of the Legionaries of Christ while the order undergoes a reorganization.