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Pope Benedict elevates 22 men, including one American, to Cardinal

Evandro Inetti / Zuma Press

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Concistory.

Pope Benedict, putting his mark on the Catholic Church's future, on Saturday inducted 22 men — including New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan — into the exclusive club of cardinals who will one day elect one of their own to succeed him.

Dolan is already being touted by some Vatican experts as a possible future candidate to become the first American pope.

--Reported by msnbc.com news services

Franco Origlia / Getty Images

Newly appointed cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, center, archbishop of New York, receives congratulations from other cardinals at the Saint Peter's Basilica on Feb. 18, in Vatican City, Vatican. The 84-year-old Pontiff installed 22 new cardinals during the ceremony, who will be responsible for choosing his successor.

Alberto Pizzoli / AFP - Getty Images

Newly-appointed cardinal Italian Giuseppe Versaldi shows his ring during the traditionnal courtesy visit after the consistory at the Vatican on Feb. 18.

Tony Gentile / Reuters

New Cardinal John Tong Hon of China, center, poses as he receives guests in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Feb. 18.

Alberto Pizzoli / AFP - Getty Images

Visitors queue on St Peter's square to take part in the traditionnal courtesy visit after the consistory at the Vatican on Feb. 18. Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday put his stamp of authority on the body that will elect his successor as he appointed 22 new cardinals at a time of roiling tensions in the Vatican administration.

Pier Paolo Cito / AP

Prelates walk in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican after meeting the newly appointed cardinals elevated by Pope Benedict XVI, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012.

Pope Benedict XVI elevates 22 Catholic churchmen to cardinals, including New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Edwin O' Brien, former archbishop of Baltimore. NBC's Lester Holt reports.