.- Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, a top Vatican official, and Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington issued statements of gratitude today after Pope Benedict XVI designated them â along with two dozen new cardinals â to be installed in a special consistory to be held at the Vatican, Nov. 20.
The Pope made his announcement Oct. 20 at the conclusion of his weekly Wednesday general audience. âThe universality of the church is reflected in the list of new cardinals,â he said. More than a dozen countries are represented by the new cardinals, including four from African countries, two from Latin America, two from North America, and one representing Asia.
In a statement on the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. on Oct. 20, Cardinal-designate Donald Wuerl made the following comments:
âThe gracious act of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in elevating me to the College of Cardinals is a recognition of the importance the Holy See places on the Archdiocese of Washington, the Church in the nationâs capital. I am humbled and grateful to our Holy Father for his trust in me as shepherd of this flock and I renew my pledge of fidelity, affection and loyalty to him.â
âYesterday I learned of this announcement, the day the Church celebrates North American martyrs. In the Churchâs liturgy in memory of these missionaries, only two are recognized by name. The rest are simply listed as companions. That struck me as applicable to this honor today. In this wonderful Church, clergy, religious and lay faithful all work so hard on behalf of the Gospel, but since you cannot name everyone, the Church names the bishop.â
âMy thoughts immediately turned to the Holy Fatherâs visit to Washington just over two years ago and the great privilege I had in welcoming him, the Chief Shepherd and Vicar of Christ, who came among us to strengthen us in our faith.â
âI had the joy of telling our Holy Father that not all that far from here in 1634 the first Catholics arrived in the colonies that later formed the United States. From those modest beginnings has come forth a Church truly representative of the Gospelâs message of hope. Today in his kindness to the Church of Washington, the Holy Father has renewed his support and love, and we in turn express again our bonds of faith and affection for him, the Vicar of Christ.â
âIn accepting this honor, I renew my pledge, in the words of Pope Benedict, to ârepropose the perennial truth of Christâs Gospelâas this local Church carries out the New Evangelization in announcing the good news of Jesus Christ. Today as the Holy Spirit is urging the Church to rekindle in peopleâs daily lives a new awareness of and familiarity with Jesus, the Spirit is also charging me to deepen my commitment in my service as shepherd of this archdiocese.â
Cardinal-designate Archbishop Raymond Burke also responded to his appointment on Wednesday, saying:
âI am deeply humbled and honored by the announcement that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI intends to name me to the College of Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church at the Consistory which he has convoked for this coming November 20th. Having received the news of the Holy Fatherâs intention, I express my deepest gratitude to His Holiness for the great confidence which he has placed in me, and I renew my commitment to serve Him, as Shepherd of the universal Church, in total fidelity and with all my being.â
âConsidering the weighty responsibilities of the members of the College of Cardinals in assisting the Holy Father as his closest co-workers, even âto the shedding of blood,â I am more than ever conscious of my own weakness and of my total dependence upon the help of divine grace, in order that I may fulfill worthily and generously the responsibilities which will be mine, God willing, as a Cardinal of the Church.â
âI count upon the continued intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Communion of Saints, and the prayers of the many faithful whom I have been blessed to serve as priest and Bishop, especially in my home diocese, the Diocese of La Crosse, and in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, and of those with whom I have been, in the past, and am now privileged to serve in the Roman Curia, especially my co-workers at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Only the knowledge of Godâs immeasurable and unceasing outpouring of mercy and love from the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus gives me the confidence to accept the great honor and burden which His Holiness intends to confer upon me.â
âTodayâs announcement turns my thoughts with deepest affection and gratitude to my late parents and all my family, living and deceased; and to the priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who have assisted me to know my vocation to the Holy Priesthood and to respond to it with an undivided heart over the more than thirty-five years of my priestly life and ministry. Today, with all my heart, I humbly thank God for the gifts of life, of the Catholic faith, and of my vocation.â
âAt the same time, my thoughts naturally turn to the many challenges which the Church faces in our day in carrying out her divine mission for the salvation of the world. In particular, I am deeply conscious of the critical importance of the loving witness of the Church to the truth, revealed to us by God through both faith and reason, which alone is our salvation. It is a witness which Our Holy Father tirelessly gives with remarkable wisdom and courage. I pledge myself anew to assist Pope Benedict XVI in this critical witness and in the many works of his pastoral charity on behalf of all our brothers and sisters in the Church and in the world.â
âI ask for prayers that I may be able to assist our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the best of my ability and with every ounce of my strength. I, once again, place my whole heart, together with the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, into the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, I am confident that I will find the purification, courage and strength which I will need to carry out the new responsibilities to be confided into my hands. I thank, in advance, all who will pray for me, and ask God to bless them abundantly.â