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Ratzinger elected dean of College of Cardinals. (World).

VATICAN CITY: Pope John Paul II confirmed the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as the new dean of the College of Cardinals Nov. 30. Ratzinger, 75, and the five other top-ranking cardinals in the curia met Nov. 27 to elect a successor to Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, 80, who asked to be relieved of the position so he could retire to his home country, Benin.

Canon law stipulates that the dean of the College of Cardinals reside at the Vatican; he is considered first among equals within the college and performs mainly ceremonial tasks. The election is carried out by the six "cardinal-bishops" who head or have retired as heads of Vatican congregations and councils.

The role of the dean of the College of Cardinals takes on particular importance with the death of the pope. The dean is charged with informing the world's cardinals, heads of state and ambassadors to the Vatican of the pope's death. He calls the cardinals to Rome and presides over the funeral liturgy of the pope. The dean is the first to enter the conclave to elect a new pope, and he reads the conclave oath to the others.
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Title Annotation:Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Author:Donovan, Gill
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXVA
Date:Dec 20, 2002
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