* Two new cardinals are from countries with large Muslim
* Cardinals come from U.S., Africa, Asia, Latin America,
* American prelate leaving Vatican after butler scandal
(Adds background on Harvey in butler scandal)
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY, Oct 24 Pope Benedict named six new
cardinals on Wednesday, including two from countries with large
Muslim populations, to put his stamp on the future of the
All six are under 80 years old and thus eligible under
Church law to enter a conclave that will one day choose
Among them is American Archbishop James Michael Harvey who,
as head of the "Pontifical Household", was the boss of the
pope's former butler Paolo Gabriele. He was convicted this month
of stealing papal documents and leaking them to the media.
A spokesman denied the promotion of Harvey, who will now
leave the Vatican to become head of a Rome basilica, was a means
of removing him because of the scandal.
The other five new members of the ultra-elite group known as
"cardinal electors" are from Lebanon, India, Nigeria, Colombia
and the Philippines. The ceremony to install them, known as a
consistory, will be held on Nov. 24, the pope said in a surprise
announcement at his weekly general audience.
The pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual
morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women
priests. Each time he names cardinals he chooses men who share
his views and can shape the Church's future.
Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, 72, the patriarch of the
Maronite Catholic Church in Lebanon, and Archbishop John
Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, 68, from Abuja in Nigeria, are from
countries with significant Muslim populations.
The pope's decision to raise the two to the highest rank in
the Church short of the papacy indicates his concern for
relations between Christianity and Islam.
The pope visited predominantly Muslim Lebanon last September
and called on members of both faiths to work together to build
peace in the Middle East and beyond.
In Nigeria, which is about 50 percent Muslim, the Islamist
sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people in attacks since
launching an uprising in 2009. Many of the attacks have been on
Christians and churches.
ONLY ONE VATICAN OFFICIAL ELEVATED, NO ITALIANS
Cardinals are the pope's closest aides in the Vatican, where
they run its key departments, and around the world, where they
head dioceses to administer the 1.2 billion members of the Roman
Harvey, 63, looked after world leaders visiting the Vatican
and arranges the pope's audiences.
Harvey suspended and then fired Gabriele after the butler's
thefts were discovered by Monsignor Georg Ganswein, Benedict's
private secretary and Gabriele's immediate superior. Gabriele
once worked directly for Harvey and it was Harvey who vouched
for him when he became papal butler.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Harvey had
been in his position for nearly 15 years and the pope wanted to
reward him for long service.
Benedict was criticised in some Church circles last February
when, in choosing his previous batch of cardinals, he elevated
many from the Vatican's central bureaucracy. He was accused of
neglecting the needs of the developing world.
Another new cardinal, Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, 53, the
major archbishop of the Syro-Malankara rite in India, is on the
front line of inter-religious dialogue with Hinduism.
The other two come from predominantly Catholic countries -
Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, 70, of Bogota, Colombia, and
Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, 55, of Manila in the Philippines,
which is the largest Catholic country in Asia.
After the consistory, the number of "cardinal electors" will
rise to 120, the maximum allowed under Church law. The total
number of men in the college of cardinals will be 211.
Benedict has now named 67, or more than half, of the
cardinals who will elect his successor from among their own
ranks. The other 53 were named by Pope John Paul.
The pope's health appears to be good but he has been looking
frail recently and has started using a cane.
Popes usually reign for life but in a book in 2010, Benedict
said he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign
in more than 700 years if he felt no longer able "physically,
psychologically and spiritually" to run the Catholic Church.
The last pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294
after reigning for only five months. Gregory XII reluctantly
abdicated in 1415 to end a dispute with a rival claimant to the
(Additional reporting by Naomi O'Leary; editing by Barry Moody
and Robert Woodward)