College of Cardinals grows by 23

By  John Thavis, Catholic News Service
  • November 30, 2007

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - In a liturgy that emphasized the church’s cultural diversity and its unity of mission, Pope Benedict XVI created 23 new cardinals from 14 countries.

The Pope, presiding over his second consistory, told the new cardinals he had chosen them to be the “closest advisers and collaborators” of his ministry in Rome, the church’s traditional centre. At the same time, he said, the cardinals’ geographical variety reflects Catholicism’s global expansion and the fact that today the church “speaks every language of the world.”

International groups of pilgrims who packed St. Peter’s Basilica for the Nov. 24 consistory added emphasis to the Pope’s words, applauding, cheering, ululating and even waving national flags when the new cardinals’ names were announced.

The Pope made a special appeal for peace in Iraq and said his naming of Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad, the Chaldean patriarch, was a sign of his closeness to the country’s Christian population.

“They are experiencing in their own flesh the dramatic consequences of an enduring conflict and now live in a fragile and delicate political situation,” the Pope said.

“Together we want to reaffirm the solidarity of the entire church with the Christians of that beloved land and ask prayers for the beginning of the hoped-for reconciliation for all the peoples involved.”

During the consistory, each cardinal knelt as the Pope placed on his head a red three-peaked hat, called a biretta. The Pope told them the colour was not only a sign of the cardinal’s dignity, but also a visible reminder of their readiness to act with courage “even to the point of shedding your blood” in order to help spread the Christian faith.

Delly, 80, received the biggest applause when he approached the altar to receive his red hat; the Pope gave him the classic round hat of a Chaldean patriarch instead of a biretta.

Pope Benedict, wearing a gold cape and seated on a gilded throne, smiled as he watched the cardinals adjust their hats and receive the congratulations of the veteran cardinals, who filled the front of the basilica.

Besides the United States and Iraq, other new cardinals came from Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Northern Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Poland, Senegal and Spain.

Of the 23 new cardinals, 18 were under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. Those over 80 included Franciscan Cardinal Umberto Betti, 85, who processed into the basilica in a wheelchair; when he was given his red hat by the Pope, whom he has known for more than 40 years, he appeared to be overwhelmed with emotion.

The consistory left the College of Cardinals with 201 members, a new record. Of those, 120 are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave.

In his sermon, the Pope underlined that being a cardinal was not about power and success, but a new form of service.

“True Christian greatness, in fact, lies not in dominating but in serving,” he said. This is the ideal that should guide the cardinals in their new role, he said.

Each of the new cardinals was assigned a church in Rome as a symbol that they were becoming members of the clergy of Rome and were more closely bound to the bishop of Rome, the pope.

The consistory liturgy had been planned for St. Peter’s Square, but was moved inside the basilica when bad weather was forecast. The overflow of several thousand people had to watch the consistory on big TV screens in the square. In the end, it did not rain during the consistory. The Pope walked out to the steps of the basilica afterward and extemporized a talk to those who waited outside.

Among those in the square was a large contingent from Senegal — many of them now living in Italy — who came to cheer Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar. They wore T-shirts with the cardinal’s name and picture on the front and the phrase, “Where can we go, Lord?” written on the back in French.

After the consistory, the cardinals scattered to various receptions throughout the day, including a big open house held in the late afternoon in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

The following day, the Pope was to celebrate Mass with the new cardinals and give them each a gold ring to symbolize their special bond of communion with Rome.

The day before the consistory, the Pope presided over a meeting with cardinals and cardinals-designate for discussions that focused on the state of the church’s ecumenical dialogues.


The new cardinals


VATICAN CITY - Here is the list of the 23 new cardinals in the order in which Pope Benedict XVI gave them the red hat Nov. 24:

  • Argentine Cardinal Leonard Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, 64.
  • U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley, pro-grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, 72.
  • Italian Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the commission governing Vatican City State, 72.
  • German Cardinal Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, 73.
  • Italian Cardinal Angel Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica and papal vicar for Vatican City, 64.
  • Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, 62.
  • Italian Cardinal Raffaele Farina, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, 74.
  • Spanish Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasc Vicente of Valencia, 76.
  • Irish Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, primate of all Ireland, 68.
  • Spanish Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, 70.
  • French Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, 65.
  • Italian Cardinal Angel Bagnasc of Genoa, 64.
  • Senegalese Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, wh will be 71 Nov. 28.
  • Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, 62.
  • Mexican Cardinal Francisc Robles Ortega of Monterrey, 58.
  • U.S. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNard of Galveston-Houston, 58.
  • Brazilian Cardinal Odili Pedr Scherer of Sa Paulo, 58.
  • Kenyan Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi, 63.
  • Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad, Iraq, 80.
  • Italian Cardinal Giovanni Coppa, former Vatican nuncio, 82.
  • Cardinal Estanisla Karlic, retired archbishop of Parana, Argentina, 81.
  • Spanish Cardinal Urban Navarrete, former rector of Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, 87.
  • Italian Cardinal Umbert Betti, former rector of Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University, 85.


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