VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II used his Jan. 21 Sunday morning blessing above St. Peter's Square to name 37 new cardinals, including three from the United States.

The list includes two priests, who, following the guidelines of John XXIII, will be consecrated as bishops before they receive their red hats.

Catholic News Service singled out some of the more eye-catching appointments: Cardinal-designate Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima, Peru, the first cardinal member of the Opus Dei personal prelature; Vietnamese Archbishop Francois X. Nguyen Van Thuan, who spent 13 years in communist prisons; Roberto Tucci, a priest and Vatican Radio director who has planned Pope John Paul's foreign trips; and Ivan Dias, who has made the evangelization of Asia one of his primary concerns.

The Americans are Archbishop Edward Egan of New York; Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C.; and Jesuit Father Avery Dulles, a theologian and professor at New York's Fordham University.

The men will be created cardinals at a consistory Feb. 21. This will be the eighth consistory of John Paul II's pontificate. The Associated Press noted that John Paul II has appointed all but 10 of the cardinals eligible to vote to elect a pope.

He has also waived the usual limit of 120 voting-age cardinals, set by Paul VI. Cardinals can vote until they reach age 80. Five of the bishops and priests named by the Holy Father on Jan. 21 are already past that age, and several more will celebrate their 80th birthdays within a few months.

The Zenit news service reported that 11 of the cardinals-designate are members of the Roman Curia. The second-largest group comes from Latin America. The others include natives of the Ivory Coast, Vietnam, India and 17 other countries.

Zenit quoted the Pope's words on his appointees: “The new cardinals come from various parts of the world. The universality of the Church is reflected in their ranks by the multiplicity of their ministries. Along with prelates honored for service rendered the Holy See, there are pastors who spend their energies in direct contact with the faithful.”

John Paul also said that he would soon reveal the names of two cardinals that he named secretly, or “in pectore,” in 1998. Cardinals are usually kept secret when naming them might place them in danger.

The Americans

The New York Times profiled Archbishop McCarrick, who spent 14 years as the archbishop of Newark, N.J., before his move to Washington. The Times reported that the archbishop was a good match for Washington because of his commitment to international affairs. He has called for debt relief for poor nations, toured China to assess religious freedom for the State Department, and visited nations such as Haiti, Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

The Times also called Archbishop McCarrick “a prodigious recruiter for the priesthood.” Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Washington Archdiocese, told the Times that while he was in Newark, Archbishop McCarrick ordained more priests than any other bishop in the same period.

Archbishop Egan took over the Archdiocese of New York last June, following the death of Cardinal John O'Connor. The New York Post reported that within hours of the announcement of his appointment, he was in the pulpit for Right-to-Life Sunday, making what the Post called “his sharpest public attack yet on abortion.”

Archbishop Egan, a canon lawyer, spent 20 years in Rome, first as a student and then as a professor and a judge of the Tribunal of the Sacred Roman Rota. In 1982, he was one of six canonists who reviewed the new Code of Canon Law with Pope John Paul II.

Father Dulles, a convert to Catholicism, comes from a family that has distinguished itself in politics and foreign affairs. His family includes three secretaries of state (for Presidents Benjamin Harrison, Wilson and Eisenhower), and his uncle, Allen Dulles, headed the CIA. Even Father Dulles took a shot at intelligence work, and won the Croix de Guerre in 1945 for his work with the French navy. The next year, he joined the Jesuits and began training for the priesthood.

He entered Harvard University as an agnostic, the Times reported, but his studies of medieval art, Plato, and the New Testament drew him to enter the Catholic Church.

Father Dulles, the author of 21 books and a vast crowd of articles and essays, is the only American theologian without pastoral responsibilities ever to be made a cardinal, the Times reported.

At a news conference in Manhattan, Father Dulles took his new title with grace and humor. He told reporters, “At my advanced age, I will have the task of trying to learn how to look and act ‘cardinalatial.’ I might very well incur red socks.” More seriously, he later told the Times that he sees his appointment in part as “a gesture of encouragement for American theologians and for my order, the Society of Jesus.”