Pope Francis elevated 20 clergies to the rank of cardinals on Saturday. The new cardinals knelt before the Pope, who presented the biretta and cardinal’s ring and assigned each of them a church in Rome. The rite continued with the cardinals’ profession of faith and oath of fidelity and obedience to Pope Francis and his successors.
Francis had already announced the names of the new purple bearers at the end of May. Among the new purple bearers are two from Brazil, two from India, one each for Singapore, Nigeria, Ghana, Paraguay, East Timor, Korea, and also one for Mongolia. The Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, is attending the Assembly of Cardinals (Consistory) convened by Pope Francis from Saturday to Tuesday evening at the Vatican.
“A cardinal loves the Church, always with the same spiritual fire, whether he deals with great or small questions, whether he encounters the great of this world or the small who are great before God,” Francis stressed.
After his homily, the Pope asked for prayers for Richard Kuuia Baawobr, bishop of Wa in Ghana, who had to undergo surgery for a heart problem after arriving in Rome on Friday. The Bishop of Wa is one of the twenty new cardinals.
Among the new cardinals are the heads of the Vatican clergy and liturgical authorities, Lazarus You Heung-six (70) and Arthur Roche (72), and the head of the government of the Vatican State, Archbishop Fernando Vergez Alzaga (77). The archbishops of Marseille (France), Jean-Marc Noël Aveline (63), of Ekwulobia (Nigeria), Peter Okpaleke (59), and of Manaus (Brazil), Leonardo Steiner (71), will also receive the cardinal’s hat.
As other cardinals, the Pope appointed: Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao (69) of Goa and Damao (India), Bishop Robert McElroy (68) of San Diego (USA), Archbishop Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva (54) of Dili (East Timor). Also, Bishops Oscar Cantoni (71) of Como (Italy), Anthony Poola (60) of Hyderabad (India), Paulo Cezar Costa (55) of Brasilia, Richard Kuuia Baawobr (63) of Wa (Ghana), William Goh Seng Chye (65) of Singapore, Adalberto Martinez Flores (71) of Asuncion (Paraguay) and Giorgio Marengo (48), Apostolic Prefect in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia).
In addition, Francis honored two archbishops emeritus, already over 80 years old, with the cardinal’s hat: Jorge Enrique Jimenez Carvajal (80) of Cartagena in Colombia and Arrigo Miglio (80) of Cagliari in Sardinia. Finally, Italian theologian and Jesuit Gianfranco Ghirlanda (80) and Fortunato Frezza (80), a priest at St. Peter’s, also received cardinalships. On the other hand, the Belgian bishop Luc Van Looy (80), who was initially also named as a future cardinal by Pope Francis in May, has renounced his elevation to cardinal. In the background are accusations about the former bishop of Ghent’s handling of abuse cases in his diocese.
With the now cardinal elevations, the number of pope electors on Saturday rises from 116 to (in the short term) 132, and the total number of cardinals from 207 to 227. But on September 3, Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez from El Salvador reached the age limit of 80 years and thus lost his right to vote in the conclave.
Since Pius XII (1939-1958), the College of Cardinals has consistently become more international. Under Pope Francis, the trend “away from Europe” is particularly striking. The formerly quasi-natural absolute majority of Europeans in the election of Pope has long since toppled; that of Europeans plus North Americans will fall in the first half of 2023 at the latest when five European electors drop out. By September 2023, seven cardinals from Italy alone will exceed the age limit of 80.
The Pope travels tomorrow, Sunday, to the occasion in the central Italian city of L? Aquila. The event is the traditional indulgence pilgrimage of the “Perdonanza Celestiniana” in the Abruzzo. This pilgrimage, which takes place annually on August 28 and 29, dates back to Pope Coelestine V (tenure 1294). It gives rise to wild speculation since Pope Coelestine was the first pope to resign from office voluntarily. And Benedict XVI laid his pallium on Coelestine’s tomb in L’Aquila. In addition, Francis wants to meet with those affected by the severe earthquake of 2009, especially as a pastor in L’Aquila.
- source: vienna.at/picture: pixabay.com
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