Six new cardinals have joined the elite club of red-robed churchmen who will elect the next pope, bringing a more geographically diverse mix into the European-dominated College of Cardinals.

Pope Benedict XVI presided over the ceremony in St Peter's Basilica to formally elevate the six men, who hail from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines and the US.

Benedict said he was essentially completing his last cardinal-making ceremony, held in February, at which he elevated 22 cardinals, the vast majority of them European.

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