.- Pope Benedict XVI met with six new cardinals and their families, just two days after they made their vows, and encouraged them to promote the “holiness, communion and peace of the Church.”
The Pope addressed the gathering at noon on Nov. 26 in the Pope Paul VI Hall. He first greeted American Cardinal Harvey, Indian Cardinal Thottunkal, Nigerian Cardinal Onaiyekan and Filipino Cardinal Tagle in English, before addressing Cardinal Raï in French and Colombian Cardinal Salazar in Spanish.
"The College of Cardinals, whose origin is linked to the ancient clergy of the Roman Church, is in charge of electing the successor of Saint Peter and advising him in matters of greater importance," said the Pope.
"Whether in the offices of the Roman Curia or in their ministry in the local Churches throughout the world, the cardinals are called to share in a special way in the Pope's solicitude for the universal Church," he added.
He noted that "the vivid color of their robes has traditionally been seen as a sign of their commitment to defending Christ's flock, even to the shedding of their blood."
"As the new cardinals takes on the burden of office, I am confident they will be supported by your prayers and assistance as they strive with the Roman pontiff to promote throughout the world the holiness, communion and peace of the Church," Pope Benedict stated.
As he addressed Lebanese Cardinal Boutros Raï and his family in French, the Pope recalled his recent visit to Lebanon, saying that those days were ''happy memories.''
"I wish to encourage life and particularly the presence of Christians in the Middle East where they must live their faith freely, and start again an urgent appeal for peace in the region," he said. "The Church encourages all efforts for peace in the world, and the Middle East peace will only be effective if it is based on a genuine respect for each other."
Pope Benedict finished his greetings by speaking in Spanish to Colombian Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez with his family and friends, as well as the Archbishop of Bogota and the president of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia.
"May Mary, most holy, who in those noble lands is sweetly invoked under the name of Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá, always hold within her motherly love all beloved sons and daughters of Colombia, whom I have very present in my heart and prayers …” he said.
"I invite everyone to raise fervent prayers for the new cardinal, that he is increasingly linked to the Successor of Peter and to work tirelessly with the Apostolic See. Ask God also to assist him with his gifts, so that it remains a witness to the truth of the Gospel of salvation, righteousness and faithfulness …”
He told the new cardinals that their "ministry has been enhanced with a new commitment to supporting the Successor of Peter, in his service to the Church universal."
"Therefore, as I again offer to each of you my most cordial good wishes, I am confident in the support of your prayers and your help. Continue confident and strong in your spiritual and apostolic mission, keeping your gaze fixed on Christ and strengthened in your love for his Church. "
He finished his speech by saying that this love can also be learned from the saints, which is the fullest realization of the Church.