Pope creates 24 new cardinals and recalls: the Church is not dominion but service
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI bestowed the cardinal’s hat on 24 new cardinals at a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s this morning. Among them, a cardinal from Asia, the Archbishop of Colombo (Sri Lanka), Mgr. Malcolm Ranjith. The basilica was packed with crowds, in addition to the full diplomatic corps, they had come from all over the world, friends and relatives of the Cardinals (see below for a full list of the new cardinals). Tomorrow, during a solemn celebration, the Pope will give them a ring. The greetings and thanks on behalf of all was delivered by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Angelo Amato, who recalled the Church's commitment to proclaim the Gospel in the modern world, despite the "challenges, difficulties and persecutions" , which may extend to martyrdom. "You can not escape - he said - the risk of not being understood, of being rejected and having to be prepared also for the ultimate witness."
Inspired by the Gospel Benedict XVI reminded the new cardinals of the lifestyle of the Christian community based on charity, "the tissue that unites all members of the Body of Christ." In the Gospel reading during the ceremony, "Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and announces for the third time, pointing to his disciples, the way by which he intends to bring to completion the work his Father gave him: this is the humble gift of self to the sacrifice of his life, the way of the Passion, the way of the Cross".
The Pope reminds us that every ministry of the Church has always responded to a call from God, it is never the result of a project or one’s own ambition, but it conforms to his will, to the will of the Father in Heaven, as Christ at Gethsemane. "In the Church no one is the master, but we are all called, we are all invited, we all are met and guided by divine grace. And this is also our certainty! Only by listening again to the words of Jesus, who asks, "Come, follow me", only by returning to our original vocation is it possible to understand our presence and mission in the Church as true disciples. "
Benedict XVI said that in the Gospel passage our gaze is drawn to behavior of "those who are considered the leaders of nations" to "dominate and oppress." Jesus tells the disciples of a completely different way: " it shall not be so among you." His community follows another rule, another logic, another model: "whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all." So the Pope notes that "The criterion of the greatness and primacy in God is not dominion, but service, the diaconate is the fundamental law of the disciple and the Christian community, and allows us to glimpse something of the "Sovereignty of God ". And Jesus also indicates the reference point: the Son of Man, who came to serve, in short he sums up his mission under the category of service, intended not as a generic term, but in the concrete sense of the Cross, of the total gift of life as a "ransom", as redemption for many, and he indicates this as a condition for discipleship. It is a message that applies to the Apostles, that applies to the whole Church, that is particularly true for those who have the responsibility of guiding the People of God, not the logic of domination, power, according to human standards, but the logic of bowing to wash the feet, the logic of service, the logic of the Cross which is the basis of any exercise of authority. In every age the Church is committed to complying with this logic and to witness in order to reflect the true “Sovereignty of God", that of love."
Among the new cardinals, ten are Italians: Angelo Amato, Francesco Monterisi, Fortunato Baldelli, Paolo Sardi, Mauro Piacenza, Velasio De Paolis, Gianfranco Ravasi, Paul Romeo, and two over eighty: Elio Sgreccia and Domenico Bartolucci. The other Europeans are two Germans (Reinhard Marx and the octogenarian Walter Brandmueller), a Swiss (Kurt Koch), from Poland (Kazimierz Nycz) and one Spanish (José Manuel Estepa Llaurens, not of voting age). Four new cardinals from the American continent (the U.S. Raymond Leo Burke and Donald William Wuerl, the Brazilian Raymundo Damasceno Assis, and the Ecuadorian Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga). Another four are from Africa (Antonios Naguib, Robert Sarah, Medardo Joseph Mazombwe and Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya), one from Asia (the Sinhalese Don Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige) and no one from Oceania. With the new appointments made by Ratzinger, the College of Cardinals now comprises 203 cardinals, of which 121 electors and 82 over eighty.