Pope Benedict XVI
"Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature," Pope Benedict XVI told a group of U.S. bishops Friday. Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI has named 22 new cardinals, his top advisers, on Friday that will eventually elect his successor, according to the Associated Press.

Europeans dominate the 84-year-old German pope's selections with 16, seven of which come from Italy, which is the most from one country. Only three prelates come from outside the West: Joao Braz de Aviz, a Brazilian who heads the Vatican office for religious life; John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong; and George Alencherry, archbishop of the Syro-Malabar church in India.

The list also includes two Americans: Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the former archbishop of Baltimore. The remaining new cardinals come from Berlin, Prague, Toronto and Florence, Italy.

This is not about privilege, change of colors, hats, new clothes, places of honor, or a different title. Jesus warned us about all that stuff, said Dolan to the New York Daily News.

No, this is about an affirmation of love from the Pope to a celebrated archdiocese and community.

With his selections, Benedict, who long served at the Vatican himself before his 2005 election to the papacy, has now named half of the prelates eligible to vote in the next papal conclave.

Of the 22 cardinals named, 18 are under the age of 80, which raises the number of cardinals eligible to vote in the next papal conclave to 125. Cardinals aged 80 and over are not allowed to cast those votes.

The pope announced the names following an Epiphany Mass that ended the Vatican's main Christmas celebrations, saying that all will be formally elevated at a Feb. 18 ceremony in Rome.

The 18 new cardinals under 80 years old are:

Santos Abril y Castello, (Spanish), Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major

George Alencherry, (Indian), Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church in India

Giuseppe Bertello, (Italian), President of the Government of the Vatican City State

Giuseppe Bettori, (Italian), Archbishop of Florence

Joao Braz de Aviz, (Brazil), Prefect of the Congregation for Religious

Domenico Calcagno, (Italian), President of the Apostolic Patrimony of the Holy See

Francesco Coccopalmerio, (Italian), President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

Thomas Collins, (Canadian), Archbishop of Toronto

Timothy Dolan, (United States) Archbishop of New York

Dominik Duka, (Czech), Archbishop of Prague

Wim Eijk, (Dutch), Archbishop of Utrecht

Fernando Filoni, (Italian), Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

Antonio Maria Veglio, (Italian), President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Refugees

Manuel Monteiro de Castro, (Portuguese), Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary

Edwin O'Brien, (United States), Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre

John Tong Hon, (Chinese), Bishop of Hong Kong

Giuseppe Versaldi, (Italian), President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See

Rainer Maria Woelki, (German), Archbishop of Berlin

The four new cardinals over 80 years old are:

Karl Becker (German), a priest and professor

Prosper Grech, (Maltese), a priest and professor

Lucian Muresan (Romania), an archbishop

Julien Ries, (Belgian), a monsignor and professor