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Thomas Collins, Toronto Archbishop, Named Cardinal By Pope Benedict

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THOMAS COLLINS CARDINAL CATHOLIC POPE
Archbishop Thomas Collins, centre, celebrates mass at St. Casimir's Catholic Church in Toronto, in this April 11, 2010 file photo. The Pope has named Collins as one of 22 new cardinals of the Church. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young) | CP

VATICAN CITY - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins is among 22 new cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church named by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican announced Friday.

Collins, 64, originally from Guelph, Ont., was appointed Toronto’s archbishop in 2007 and becomes the 16th Canadian cardinal in the history of the church.

“To be a member of the College of Cardinals, really, is a great honour and I’m very grateful for it,” Collins told radio station AM640.

“It has quite a history down through the ages. The cardinals have played an important role ... in world history.”

Cardinals are the pope's top advisers, the elite group of churchmen who will eventually elect Benedict's successor. Of the 22, 18 are under the age of 80 — raising to 125 the number of cardinals eligible to vote in the next papal conclave.

Cardinals aged 80 and over are not allowed to vote on the next pope.

The list includes two Americans: Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the former archbishop of Baltimore.

The 84-year-old pope named 16 Europeans as cardinals, including seven Italians. He also named Joao Braz de Aviz, a Brazilian who heads the Vatican office for religious life; John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong; and George Alencherry, archbishop of the Syro-Malabar church in India.

The pope announced the names "with great joy" following an Epiphany Mass that ended the Vatican's main Christmas celebrations. He said they will be formally elevated at a Feb. 18 ceremony in Rome.

The 18 new cardinals under 80 are:

Santos Abril y Castello, (Spanish), Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major

George Alencherry, (Indian), Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church in India

Giuseppe Bertello, (Italian), President of the Government of the Vatican City State

Giuseppe Bettori, (Italian), Archbishop of Florence

João Braz de Aviz, (Brazil), Prefect of the Congregation for Religious

Domenico Calcagno, (Italian), President of the Apostolic Patrimony of the Holy See

Francesco Coccopalmerio, (Italian), President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

Thomas Collins, (Canadian), Archbishop of Toronto

Timothy Dolan, (United States) Archbishop of New York

Dominik Duka, (Czech), Archbishop of Prague

Wim Eijk, (Dutch), Archbishop of Utrecht

Fernando Filoni, (Italian), Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

Antonio Maria Veglio, (Italian), President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Refugees

Manuel Monteiro de Castro, (Portuguese), Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary

Edwin O'Brien, (United States), Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre

John Tong Hon, (Chinese), Bishop of Hong Kong

Giuseppe Versaldi, (Italian), President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See

Thomas Woelki, (German), Archbishop of Berlin

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The four new cardinals over 80 are:

Karl Becker (German), a priest and professor

Prosper Grech, (Maltese), a priest and professor

Lucian Muresan (Romania), an archbishop

Julien Ries, (Belgian), a monsignor and professor

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— With files from The Canadian Press

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