Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church has, to date, 18 new cardinals, "called to Him" by Jesus to "walk with Him". In a few days they will be joined by Msgr. Loris Capovilla, absent today for health reasons. The Church calls them all to "communion" with each other and with the Pope, for the "courage" to proclaim the Gospel and give "witness of truth", " prayer for the progress of Christ's flock", " compassion" for the pain there is in many parts of the world and "spiritual closeness" to " all Christians who suffer persecution and discrimination".
It is Pope Francis' first consistory for the "creation" of new cardinals: A solemn ceremony, with the bestowing of the ring, the red hat or beretta and the "title" of the new cardinals . The first of them, Pietro Parolin, addressing the Pope evokes loyalty "to the shedding of blood" indicated by the color of their vestments. He also greets "with equal affection and veneration, the Pope Emeritus, His Holiness Benedict XVI", who for the first time in public, sits next to the cardinals . The crowd in St Peter's Basilica joins in the greeting with a lengthy applause.
Pope Francis was inspired by the
verse from Mark ( Mk 10:32 ) "Jesus was walking ahead of them..." (Mk 10:32).At this
moment too, Jesus is walking ahead of us. He is always before us. He goes ahead
of us and leads the way... This is the source of our confidence and our joy: to
be his disciples, to remain with him, to walk behind him, to follow him...When we
joined to concelebrate the first Mass in the Sistine Chapel, the first word
which the Lord proposed to us was "to walk", to journey with him: to journey,
and then to build and to profess. Today
this same word is repeated, but now as an action, an action of Jesus which is
ongoing: "Jesus was walking...". This is something striking about the Gospels:
Jesus is often walking and he teaches his disciples along the way. This is
important. Jesus did not come to teach a philosophy, an ideology... but rather "a
way", a journey to be undertaken with him, and we learn the way as we go, by
walking. Yes, dear brothers, this is our joy: to walk with Jesus".
"But this is not easy, or comfortable, because the way that Jesus chooses is the way of the Cross. As they journey together, he speaks to his disciples about what will happen in Jerusalem: he foretells his passion, death and resurrection. And they are "shocked" and "full of fear".
"Unlike the disciples in those days, we know that Jesus has won, and that we need not fear the Cross; indeed, the Cross is our hope. And yet, we are all too human, sinners, tempted to think as men do, not as God does.And once we follow the thinking of the world, what happens? "When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John" (Mk 10:41). They were indignant. Whenever a worldly mentality predominates, the result is rivalry, jealousy, factions...".
"And Jesus called them to himself..." (Mk 10:42). Here is the other action
of Jesus. Along the way, he is aware that he needs to speak to the Twelve; he
stops and calls them to himself. Brothers, let us allow Jesus to call us to
himself! Let us be "con-voked" by him. And let us listen to him, with the joy
that comes from receiving his word together, from letting ourselves be taught
by that word and by the Holy Spirit, and to become ever more of one heart and
soul, gathered around him".
"And as we are thus "con-voked", "called to himself" by our one Teacher, I too will tell you what the Church needs: she needs you, your cooperation, and even more your communion, communion with me and among yourselves. The Church needs your courage, to proclaim the Gospel at all times, both in season and out of season, and to bear witness to the truth. The Church needs your prayer for the progress of Christ's flock, the prayer which, together with the proclamation of the Word, is the primary task of the Bishop. The Church needs your compassion, especially at this time of pain and suffering for so many countries throughout the world. We want to express our spiritual closeness to the ecclesial communities and to all Christians suffering from discrimination and persecution. The Church needs our prayer for them, that they may be firm in faith and capable of responding to evil with good. And this prayer of ours extends to every man and women suffering injustice on account of their religious convictions. The Church needs us also to be peacemakers, building peace by our words, our hopes and our prayers: let us therefore invoke peace and reconciliation for those peoples presently experiencing violence and war.
Thank you, dear Brothers. Let us walk together behind the Lord, and let us always be called together by him, in the midst of his faithful people, our holy Mother the Church".
The words of Pope Francis were followed by the delivery of the symbols of the cardinal's office. One by one the 18 new cardinals knelt before the Pope: 16 of them are "electors" - that is to say, not yet over 80 years of age and eligible to participate in an eventual conclave - and two non- electors, that is, over 80, as is the absent Capovilla.
Of the 16 electors, 4 are members of the Curia and 12 are local bishops or Archbishops of countries around the world. Divided by continent, the new cardinals come from Asia: Orlando B. Quevedo, Archbishop of Mindanao, the Philippines, and AndrewYeom Soo jung, Archbishop of Seoul, South Korea. Europe (8, 6 of which voters: Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State; Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of bishops; Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster; Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia; Loris Francesco Capovilla, former secretary of Pope Roncalli, Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, Archbishop Emeritus of Pamplona). The Americas (7, 6 of which voters: Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano, Archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua: Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, Canada; Orani Joao Tempesta, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Mario Aurelio Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Archbishop of Santiago, Chile; Chibly Langlois, Bishop of Les Cayes, Haiti; Kelvin Edward Felix, Archbishop emeritus of Castries, West Indies. Two from Africa (Jean -Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan, ivory Coast and Nakellentuba Philippe Ouedraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso). The three non-electors are Capovilla, Sebastian Aguillar and Edward Felix.
With the new appointments there are 123 cardinal electors, but as Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Press Office of the Holy See noted in announcing the consistory, "the Pope has adhered to the rule of the 120 voters less than 80 years of age", in as far as three places "will remain vacant as of next May. Hence the Pope has chosen 16 voters".