06/28/2018, 18.50
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Pope tells new cardinals that in the Church authority means serving others

In the Ordinary Public Consistory, Francis said that "Jesus teaches us that conversion, change of heart and Church reform is and ever shall be in a missionary key, which demands an end to looking out for and protecting our own interests, in order to look out for and protect those of the Father.” Three of the new cardinals are from Asia. Now 17 electors are from Asia.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis created 14 new cardinal during the Ordinary Public Consistory in Rome’s St Peter’s Basilica this evening.

In his address, the pontiff said that in the Church “the only credible form of authority is born of sitting at the feet of others in order to serve Christ.” At the same time, “Jesus teaches us that conversion, change of heart and Church reform is and ever shall be in a missionary key, which demands an end to looking out for and protecting our own interests, in order to look out for and protect those of the Father.”

Three of the new cardinals are from Asia: Louis Raphaël I Sako, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, (Iraq); Joseph Coutts, archbishop of Karachi, (Pakistan) and Thomas Aquinas Manyo, archbishop of Osaka, Japan. The other new cardinals are: Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of Rome; Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State and special delegate to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; Konrad Krajewski, Apostolic Almangeman; António dos Santos Marto, bishop Leiria-Fátima (Portugal); Pedro Barreto, archbishop of Huancayo, (Peru); Desiré Tsarahazana, archbishop of Toamasina (Madagascar); and Giuseppe Petrocchi, archbishop of L'Aquila (Italy). Together with them, Francis has created cardinals over 80: Sergio Obeso Rivera, archbishop emeritus of Xalapa; Toribio Ticona Porco, prelate emeritus of Corocoro, and Father Aquilino Bocos Merino, Claretian.

With them, the College of Cardinals now has 227 members, 125 of whom are electors (under the age of 80 who can take part in a conclave) and 102 non-electors. Seventeen electors are from Asia, 53 from Europe, 17 from North America, 5 from Central America, 13 from South America, 16 from Africa and 4 from Oceania.

With his new 14 cardinals, Pope Francis highlights the principle of universality. The new electors come nine different countries. The College of Cardinals is also increasingly Bergoglian; 59 electors were appointed by Francis, 47 by Benedict XVI and 19 by John Paul II.

Citing Mark – “They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them (Mk 10:32),” the Holy Father noted that “the Evangelist does not shrink from disclosing secrets present in the hearts of the disciples: their quest of honours, jealousy, envy, intrigue, accommodation and compromise. This kind of thinking not only wears and eats away at their relationship, but also imprisons them in useless and petty discussions. Yet Jesus is not concerned with this: he walks ahead of them and he keeps going. And he tells them forcefully: ‘But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant’ (Mk 10:43).”

Thus, “the Lord tries to refocus the eyes and hearts of his disciples, so that there will be no fruitless and self-referential discussions in the community. What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are corroded within? What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are living in a stifling atmosphere of intrigues that dry up our hearts and impede our mission? Here, as someone has observed, we might think of all those palace intrigues that take place, even in curial offices.”

“Conversion from our sins and from selfishness will never be an end in itself but is always a means of growing in fidelity and willingness to embrace the mission. At the moment of truth, especially when we see the distress of our brothers and sisters, we will be completely prepared to accompany and embrace them, one and all. In this way, we avoid becoming effective “roadblocks”, whether because of our short-sightedness or our useless wrangling about who is most important. When we forget the mission, when we lose sight of the real faces of our brothers and sisters, our life gets locked up in the pursuit of our own interests and securities. Resentment then begins to grow, together with sadness and revulsion. Gradually we have less and less room for others, for the Church community, for the poor, for hearing the Lord’s voice. Joy fades and the heart withers (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 2).

“Dear brother Cardinals and new Cardinals! In our journey towards Jerusalem, the Lord walks ahead of us, to keep reminding us that the only credible form of authority is born of sitting at the feet of others in order to serve Christ. It is the authority that comes from never forgetting that Jesus, before bowing his head on the cross, did not hesitate to bow down and wash the feet of the disciples. This is the highest honour that we can receive, the greatest promotion that can be awarded us: to serve Christ in God’s faithful people. In those who are hungry, neglected, imprisoned, sick, suffering, addicted to drugs, cast aside. In real people, each with his or her own life story and experiences, hopes and disappointments, hurts and wounds. [. . .] None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up.”

Francis finally cited the spiritual testament of Saint John XXIII who said that he was “’Born poor” and was ‘particularly happy to die poor. I thank God for this grace of poverty to which I vowed fidelity in my youth; poverty of spirit, as a priest of the Sacred Heart, and material poverty, which has strengthened me in my resolve never to ask for anything – money, positions or favours – never, either for myself, or for my relations and friends’ (29 June 1954).”

The ceremony to “create” the new cardinals continued with the Francis placing the zucchetto and biretta on the new prelates (the colour indicates the willingness to become a martyr), each kneeling in front of him. The new cardinals also received a ring and were assigned each a church in Rome as a sign of their readiness to take part in the Bishop of Rome’s pastoral outreach.

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