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Canadian named to the College of Cardinals

Canadian named to the College of Cardinals

Pope Benedict XVI on Friday named, "with great joy," a Canadian and 21 others to the College of Cardinals.

The Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins, said he was honoured to be named as a member of the Catholic Church's inner circle.

"I am grateful for the trust he has placed in me, and recognize this honour as a sign of his esteem for the role of Canada and of the Archdiocese of Toronto in the universal Church," Collins said in a statement.

Born in Guelph, Ont. — about 100 kilometres north of Toronto — Collins was ordained as a priest in 1972.

He was first named as a bishop in 1997 in Alberta. Collins served as bishop in St. Paul, Alta., before becoming the Archbishop of Edmonton in 1999. He has been the archbishop of Toronto since 2006.

Cardinals play a prominent role in the church. Among other duties, they are called to Rome when a pope dies for a secret meeting, the conclave, in which members under the age of 80 select who will be next to take the seat of the papacy.

Eighteen of the new cardinals are under the age of 80.

With the new appointments, Benedict, who was elected in a secret conclave in 2005, has now named more than half of the "cardinal electors" who will be able to someday choose a new leader of the world's estimated 1.3 billion Roman Catholics.

The ceremony to install the new cardinals, known as a consistory, will be held on Feb 18. It will be Benedict's fourth such event as pope.

The newly selected cardinals are from the United States, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, India, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, China, Romania, Belgium and Malta.

Cardinals also serve on a number of committees within the church, dealing with a variety of issues.

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