Pope Benedict XVI formally created 24 new cardinals on Saturday amid cheers in St. Peter's Basilica, bringing a mostly Italian group into the elite club that will eventually elect his successor.
Speaking in Latin, Benedict read out each of the names of the new "princes of the church" at the start of the Mass, eliciting roaring applause from the pews and smiles from the cardinals themselves.
Wearing their new scarlet cassocks — to signify their willingness to shed blood for the church — the cardinals processed first into the basilica, waving to well-wishers as organ music thundered in a festive yet solemn atmosphere.
The basilica was awash in red as some 150 cardinals from around the world came to Rome for the occasion of welcoming in their newest members.
The 24 new cardinals include heads of Vatican congregations, archbishops of major cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and retired prelates honored for their lifelong service to the church.