Tag Archives: College of Cardinals

20 new cardinals

new cards 2015We now have 20 new members of the College of Cardinals. Men who come from various parts of the world. 15 of the 20 are able to vote in a future conclave, and the 5 are honorary due to age. (Over the age of 80 a cardinal does not enter the conclave to elect a new Roman Pontiff.) The novelty in this group of cardinals is that several dioceses receive for the first time: there are 5 firsts: Agrigento (Sicily), Morelia (Mexico), David (Panama), Santiago de Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Tonga (Kingdom of Tonga).

One of the cardinals that catches my eye is His Eminence, Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel, CM, 66, archbishop of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Cardinal Souraphiel comes from a country where Catholics number less than 1 percent of a total population and the majority are Orthodox Christian; more than 30 percent are Muslim. He also brings the Vincentian charism to the College of Cardinals.

The youngest cardinal at the age of 53 is Soane Patita Paini Mafi, bishop of Tonga, a diocese with about 15,000 Catholics. Part of his education was in the USA having spent two years in Baltimore studying psychology before returning home for parish and seminary assignments. Pope Benedict XVI named him bishop in 2007.

One of the honorary cardinals, His Eminence, Luigi Cardinal De Magistris, 88, Major Pro-Penitentiary Emeritus, is noteworthy and well-deserving.

“The greater our responsibility in serving the Church, the more our hearts have to expand according to the measure of the heart of Christ. It means being able to love without measure, but also to be faithful in particular situations and with practical gestures.”

Pope Francis told the new cardinals (but what the Pope says is applicable to all):

The cardinalate is certainly an honour, but it is not honorific.  This we already know from its name – “cardinal” – from the word “cardo”, a hinge.  As such it is not a kind of accessory, a decoration, like an honorary title.  Rather, it is a pivot, a point of support and movement essential for the life of the community.  You are “hinges” and are “incardinated” in the Church of Rome, which “presides over the entire assembly of charity” (Lumen Gentium, 13; cf. IGN. ANT., Ad Rom., Prologue).

In the Church, all “presiding” flows from charity, must be exercised in charity, and is ordered towards charity.  Here too the Church of Rome exercises an exemplary role.  Just as she presides in charity, so too each particular Church is called, within its own sphere, to preside in charity.

For this reason, I believe that the “hymn to charity” in Saint Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians can be taken as a guiding theme for this celebration and for your ministry, especially for those of you who today enter the College of Cardinals.  All of us, myself first and each of you with me, would do well to let ourselves be guided by the inspired words of the apostle Paul, especially in the passage where he lists the marks of charity.  May our Mother Mary help us to listen.  She gave the world Jesus, charity incarnate, who is “the more excellent Way” (cf. 1 Cor 12:31); may she help us to receive this Word and always to advance on this Way.  May she assist us by her humility and maternal tenderness, because charity, as God’s gift, grows wherever humility and tenderness are found.

Saint Paul tells us that charity is, above all, “patient” and “kind”.  The greater our responsibility in serving the Church, the more our hearts must expand according to the measure of the heart of Christ.  “Patience” – “forbearance” – is in some sense synonymous with catholicity.  It means being able to love without limits, but also to be faithful in particular situations and with practical gestures.  It means loving what is great without neglecting what is small; loving the little things within the horizon of the great things, since “non coerceri a maximo, contineri tamen a minimo divinum est”.  To know how to love through acts of kindness.  “Kindness” – benevolence –means the firm and persevering intention to always will the good of others, even those unfriendly to us.

The Apostle goes on to say that charity “is not jealous or boastful, it is not puffed up with pride”.  This is surely a miracle of love, since we humans – all of us, at every stage of our lives – are inclined to jealousy and pride, since our nature is wounded by sin.  Nor are Church dignitaries immune from this temptation.  But for this very reason, dear brothers, the divine power of love, which transforms hearts, can be all the more evident in us, so that it is no longer you who live, but rather Christ who lives in you.  And Jesus is love to the fullest.

Saint Paul then tells us that charity “is not arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way”.  These two characteristics show that those who abide in charity are not self-centred.  The self-centred inevitably become disrespectful; very often they do not even notice this, since “respect” is precisely the ability to acknowledge others, to acknowledge their dignity, their condition, their needs.  The self-centred person inevitably seeks his own interests; he thinks this is normal, even necessary.  Those “interests” can even be cloaked in noble appearances, but underlying them all is always “self-interest”.  Charity, however, makes us draw back from the centre in order to set ourselves in the real centre, which is Christ alone.  Then, and only then, can we be persons who are respectful and attentive to the good of others.

Charity, Saint Paul says, “is not irritable, it is not resentful”.  Pastors close to their people have plenty of opportunities to be irritable, to feel anger.  Perhaps we risk being all the more irritable in relationships with our confreres, since in effect we have less excuses.  Even here, charity, and charity alone, frees us.  It frees us from the risk of reacting impulsively, of saying or doing the wrong thing; above all it frees us from the mortal danger of pent-up anger, of that smouldering anger which makes us brood over wrongs we have received.  No.  This is unacceptable in a man of the Church.  Even if a momentary outburst is forgivable, this is not the case with rancour.  God save us from that!

Charity – Saint Paul adds – “does not rejoice at the wrong, but rejoices in the right”.  Those called to the service of governance in the Church need to have a strong sense of justice, so that any form of injustice becomes unacceptable, even those which might bring gain to himself or to the Church.  At the same time, he must “rejoice in the right”.  What a beautiful phrase!  The man of God is someone captivated by truth, one who encounters it fully in the word and flesh of Jesus Christ, the inexhaustible source of our joy.  May the people of God always see in us a firm condemnation of injustice and joyful service to the truth.

Finally, “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.  Here, in four words, is a spiritual and pastoral programme of life.  The love of Christ, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, enables us to live like this, to be like this: as persons always ready to forgive; always ready to trust, because we are full of faith in God; always ready to inspire hope, because we ourselves are full of hope in God; persons ready to bear patiently every situation and each of our brothers and sisters, in union with Christ, who bore with love the burden of our sins.

Dear brothers, this comes to us not from ourselves, but from God.  God is love and he accomplishes all this in us if only we prove docile to the working of his Holy Spirit.  This, then, is how we are to be: “incardinated” and docile.  The more we are “incardinated” in the Church of Rome, the more we should become docile to the Spirit, so that charity can give form and meaning to all that we are and all that we do.  Incardinated in the Church which presides in charity, docile to the Holy Spirit who pours into our hearts the love of God (cf. Rom 5:5).  Amen.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Pope Francis writes to new cardinals

Dear Brother,

On the day in which your designation is made public to be part of the College of Cardinals, I wish to express to you a cordial greeting together with the assurance of my closeness and my prayer. I hope that, as associate of the Church of Rome, clothed in the virtues and sentiments of the Lord Jesus (cf. Romans 13:14), you will be able to help me, with fraternal effectiveness, in my service to the universal Church.

The Cardinalate does not signify a promotion, or an honor, or a decoration. It is simply a service that calls for enlarging one’s vision and widening one’s heart. And, although it seems a paradox, this ability to look far ahead and to love more universally with greater intensity can only be acquired by following the same way of the Lord: the way of abasement and humility, taking the form of a servant (cf. Philippians 2;5-8). Therefore, I ask you, please, to receive this designation with a simple and humble heart. And, although you must do so with joy and gladness, do it in such a way that this sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness, from any celebration that is foreign to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.

Farewell, then, until next February 20, in which we will begin two days of reflection on the family. I remain at your disposition and, please, I ask you to pray and to have others pray for me.

May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you.



From the Vatican
January 12, 2014

Wow! What a letter to read! Imagine receiving such a letter if you were nominated to the cardinalate in the Catholic Church. The papal letter is brief, direct, and an unexpected fraternal gesture expressing clear hopes (expectations?) for the men entering into the College of Cardinals. I hope not only the cardinals listen to what the Holy Father has to say, but the rest of us, too. What is said to the new cardinals is said to all the faithful!

Symbolic of the new form service for Christ and the Church is the adoption of the color red, expressed most often as “the red hat” (seen above) and the reception of a new ring. These are classic signs to the deeper reality of love and service. The wearing of the color red, the donning of the biretta (hat) and the wearing of the cardinal’s ring is a clear sign of willing to die for the Church, and to be of service to the Church at all costs. You might say that being a cardinal is all-consuming in all forms of service that others (deacon, priest, bishop & faithful lay person) may not have: the prayers for the new cardinal at the time of the consistory have a clear element of martyrdom in them. The martyrdom of a cardinal –which hasn’t happened in a while– ought to be a spark for new life in the Paschal Mystery.

One of the striking lines in the Pope’s letter is enlarging one’s vision and widening one’s heart. Other parts of the letter that we ought to note is how the cardinal relates to the person of the bishop of Rome: in a personalistic way. Moreover, Francis asks the new cardinals to celebrate with joy yet in a sober manner that is not triumphalistic keeping in mind what the Scriptures reveal.

New Cardinals’ composition 2014

Cardinals Sistine ChapelPope Francis was not innovative in announcing his intention to create new cardinals on 22 February 2014. This is his first “class of cardinals” and if the Pope remains in office for the next several years he will be able to re-create the composition of the College in a very significant way with about 40 cardinals. Previous popes were expansive in many ways in how they composed the College.

The make up of the College of Cardinals is further internationalized with the number of Europeans and bishops from the USA being held steady, 5 new cardinals are from the “margins.” Most of the new men in the College are boilerplate in the sense that most got the honor because of the work they do in the Curia or in their respective churches. Surprises were Haiti, Cotabato, Burkina Faso and Dominica, but not Turin and Venice. Haiti’s cardinal is the first for that country as is Dominica in this hemisphere. Not so surprising is the Pope’s looking over the Archivist of the Roman Church, Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, OP; there has been great tensions between the two since Bergogolio’s time in Argentina. Personally, I am happy to see a Cistercian prelate named cardinal (of Benedictine heritage)  and yet I was expecting for more Asians and Africans, but… the Pope did not create a woman cardinal as some in the media were desiring.

The Holy Father made the announcement today. Some notes about the new church princes:

  • The pope stayed with the norm of 120 under the age of 80 for voting purposes; 16 of the new cardinals are voting, 3 are over 80;
  • the age range goes from Archbishop Capovilla, 98, to the youngest, Bishop Langlois, 55; most fall in the late 60s and 70s;
  • the Archbishop of Cotabato is an unusual choice because Cotabato is not a “traditional” cardinalatial see; in some quarters the Archbishop of Cebu would be the more natural suspect for the red; the Cotabato archbishop comes from a small diocese which lives among a significant muslim area; another un-typical name is the archbishop of Perugia, Italy — though the last of his predecessors, Pecci, was a cardinal in the 19th cent., who later was Leo XIII;
  • there is no new cardinal from the USA; a good thing since we have plenty and have so until 2015;
  • 4 of the cardinals are members of the Roman Curia and 12 are residential archbishops or bishops:
  • 2 from Europe’s residential sees, 2 from North(Canada) and Central America (Nicaragua), 3 from South America, 2 from Africa, and 2 from Asia; interesting to see new cardinals coming from Burkina Faso, Dominica and Haiti;
  • among the non-electors is Archbishop Loris Capovilla, the secretary of Blessed Pope John XXIII;
  • the new “Franciscan College of Cardinal” will have 122 members: Europeans 59 (Italians 29), Latin Americans 19, North Americans 15, Africans 13, Asians 13, and Oceania 1.

New Cardinals by Pope Francis

TempestaAs was previously announced, on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Peter, I will have the joy of holding a Consistory, during which I will name 16 new Cardinals, who, coming from 12 countries from every part of the world, represent the deep ecclesial relationship between the Church of Rome and the other Churches throughout the world. The following day [February 23] I will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new Cardinals, while on February 20 and 21 I will hold a Consistory with all the Cardinals to reflect on the theme of the family.

Here are the names of the new Cardinals:

1. Pietro Parolin, Titular Archbishop of Acquapendente, Secretary of State
2. Lorenzo Baldisseri, Titular Archbishop of Diocleziana, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
3. Gerhard Ludwig Műller, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Regensburg, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
4. Beniamino Stella, Titular Archbishop of Midila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
5. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster (Great Britain).
6. Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Archbishop of Managua (Nicaragua).
7. Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec (Canada).
8. Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan (Ivory Coast).
9. Orani João Tempesta, O.Cist., Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
10. Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve (Italy).
11. Mario Aurelio Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina).
12. Andrew Yeom Soo jung, Archbishop of Seoul (Korea).
13. Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B., Archbishop of Santiago del Cile (Chile).
14. Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).
15. Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., Archbishop of Cotabato (Philippines).
16. Chibly Langlois, Bishop of Les Cayes (Haïti).

Together with them, I will join to the Members of the College of Cardinals three Archbishops emeriti distinguished for their service to the Holy See and to the Church.

They are:

1. Loris Francesco Capovilla, Titular Archbishop of Mesembria.
2. Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, C.M.F., Archbishop emeritus of Pamplona.
3. Kelvin Edward Felix, Archbishop emeritus of Castries.

New cardinals to be created in February 2014

US CardinalsVatican Radio and the French news agency I-Media broke the news today that the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, will create new cardinals in a Consistory to be held February 21 and 22, 2014. No names have been mentioned and there won’t be names likely until February.

At the same time, Pope Francis is holding a meeting with all cardinals in Rome to discuss possible reforms.

By February 2014, there will b 14 vacancies of 120 that are noted in Canon Law. By March, there would be 16. The 120 limit is an arbitrary number established by Pope Paul VI.

Possible cardinals to serve in the Roman Curia: Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Secretary of State, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Beniamino Stella, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. There could be more if Pope Francis makes more changes in his curia.

Plus, there are residential archbishops around the world. I would not expect new cardinals in the USA.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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