- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2001

Monsignor Theodore E. McCarrick, the newly installed Archbishop of Washington, was elevated to a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II yesterday.
As cardinal, Archbishop McCarrick, 70, will serve as an adviser to the pope on universal church matters and will be eligible to vote in a papal election that will appoint the pontiff's successor.
Two other Americans elevated to the College of Cardinals were Monsignor Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, and Jesuit theologian Avery Dulles, a professor at New York's Fordham University. He is the son of the late John Foster Dulles, who was secretary of state in the Eisenhower administration and the man for whom Washington Dulles International Airport is named.
Thirty-four men from other countries were named cardinal as well. The 80-year-old pontiff, who has been in declining health in recent years, announced their names to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square after his weekly blessing.
With the latest appointments, the pope has chosen all but 10 of the 128 "cardinal electors" of the 178-member College of Cardinals. The number of voting cardinals traditionally has been 120, but the pope announced yesterday that he was breaking that custom, bringing the number to 128.
It was the eighth time since his election in 1978 that the pontiff had created cardinals, and this is the largest group ever named, indicating that the pope may feel his time as pontiff may be near its end. The pope has named 154 cardinals, some of whom have since died.
Since the pope promotes prelates who agree with his teachings, the appointments may have enhanced the possibility the next pontiff will be a theological conservative who would not change Catholic teaching on contraception and restricting the priesthood to men.
On learning of his appointment, Archbishop McCarrick said he was "feeling numb" because "everything has happened so quickly." The archbishop took charge of the Archdiocese of Washington Jan. 3, after serving as archbishop of Newark, N.J., for nearly 15 years.
"I've felt numb ever since I first came here," the archbishop said in a cell-phone interview while on his way to celebrate Mass at St. Mary of the Mills Church in Laurel yesterday evening.
"Now with this appointment I'm more numb," he said. "I don't know how I'm doing. But I'm doing the best I can."
Archbishop McCarrick said the appointment is not only a great honor for him, but for the Washington Archdiocese, which includes parishes in the District and Montgomery, Prince George's, Calvert, St. Mary's and Charles counties of Maryland.
Archbishop McCarrick said his new duties will not keep him from the 510,000 Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington, although he will travel to Rome perhaps 10 times each year.
"I will be here as often as I can," he said. "The most important thing is the people of my parish, whom I came to serve. Nothing will keep me from that."
Archbishop McCarrick will be formally installed as cardinal Feb. 21 at a ceremony at the Vatican Feb. 21. A Mass with the pope will be held the following day. The archbishop will receive a zucchetto the scarlet skullcap and a ring.
Cardinal James A. Hickey, who retired last year after leading the Washington Archdiocese for the last 20 years, wished Archbishop McCarrick his blessing. "This honor is a fitting recognition of Cardinal-designate McCarrick's long and splendid service to the Church," Cardinal Hickey said.
Cardinals are elite "princes" of the Church. Those under 80, called "cardinal electors," can enter a secret conclave to elect the next pope from among themselves after John Paul's death. Mr. Dulles, who is 82, would not be allowed to vote because of his advanced age.
Only seven of the 37 new cardinal-designates are Italian, raising the possibility that the Polish-born pope's successor will not be an Italian. Seventeen are from Latin America, Asia or Africa, raising the chance that the next pope may be from the undeveloped world.
Larry Witham contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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