Religion: The Roads to Rome

The Pope's creation of 32 new cardinals (TIME, Dec. 31) was a tremendous gesture of spiritual empire. The new cardinalates, in 19 countries, scattered over six continents, showed, as no Protestant gesture could, the worldwide character of the Roman Catholic Church. The action was also one of the most sweeping adaptations to circumstance in the Church's long history.

The Pope slashed the ratio of Italian members in the College of Cardinals from 63% to 40%. For the first time since the Papacy's 14th-Century "Babylonian captivity" in France, Italians were in the minority. For...

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