members--from 11 different countries--now bring the total number of
world cardinals to 193, 120 of whom are of legal age to participate in
a papal conclave.
Among them was
Cardinal William Joseph Levada, former Archbishop of San Francisco and
now, prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith--an
office formerly held by the Holy Father himself prior to becoming Pope.
Cardinal Levada, who was the first to be incorporated today, thanked the Pope on behalf of all the others.
homily, delivered in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father explained that
the Ordinary Public Consistory eloquently expresses "the universal
nature of the Church, which has spread to every corner of the world in
order to proclaim to all people the Good News of Christ our Savior."
He recalled his
predecessor John Paul II, who celebrated nine consistories during his
two and a half decade pontificate. On this, Benedict stressed that
while "down the centuries the College of Cardinals has changed in many
ways, nevertheless the substance and essential nature of this important
ecclesial body remain unaltered."
generous availability to serve others”, he said, “is the distinctive
mark of those in positions of authority in the Church."
Quoting St. Gregory the Great, the Pope called Jesus, “The first 'servant of the servants of God'."
“After him, and
united with him,” he said, “come the Apostles; and among these, in a
particular way, Peter. ... The Pope must be the first to make himself
the servant of all."
The Holy Father
then turned to address the new cardinals, telling them that now, "more
closely linked to the Successor of Peter, you will be called to work
together with him in accomplishing his particular ecclesial service,
and this will mean for you a more intense participation in the mystery
of the Cross as you share in the sufferings of Christ."
He said that the
word "caritas," which was the major theme of his recent Encyclical,
best summarized the significance of the call of a cardinal. "May the
scarlet that you now wear always express the 'caritas Christi,'
inspiring you to a passionate love for Christ, for His Church and for
all humanity,” the pope said.
“You now have an
additional motive to seek to rekindle in yourselves those same
sentiments that led the incarnate Son of God to pour out His blood in
atonement for the sins of the whole world.”
on, telling the group, "I am counting on you, venerable brothers, I am
counting on the entire College into which you are being incorporated,
to proclaim to the world that 'Deus caritas est,' and to do so above
all through the witness of sincere communion among Christians."
"I am counting
on you”, he added, “to ensure that the principle of love will spread
far and wide, and will give new life to the Church at every level of
her hierarchy, in every group of the faithful, in every religious
institute, in every spiritual, apostolic or humanitarian initiative."
He concluded by
telling the new cardinals the he is "counting on you to see to it that
our common endeavor to fix our gaze on Christ's open Heart will hasten
and secure our path towards the full unity of Christians. I am counting
on you to see to it that the Church's solicitude for the poor and needy
challenges the world with a powerful statement on the civilization of
“All this”, the
Pope said, he sees “symbolized in the scarlet with which you are now
invested. May it truly be a symbol of ardent Christian love shining
forth in your lives."
Benedict’s homily, each of the new cardinals voiced the profession of
faith, swearing obedience to the Pope and his successors.
One by one, they
then received the red “biretta” from the Pope as well as their assigned
titular or diaconate church in Rome. The titular church assignment is
largely symbolic, but expresses the cardinals’ participation in the
Pope’s pastoral concern for the city.
will take possession of the Church of St. Mary in Domnica on Sunday. A
large number of faithful from his former archdioceses of San Francisco
and Portland are scheduled to attend.
Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the only other Cardinal from the U.S.,
will take possession of the Church of St. Mary della Vittoria.
Church’s College of Cardinals now has 15 new members among its ranks.
This morning, Pope Benedict XVI created the first cardinals of his
pontificate and said that he is counting on them to support him, build
up the Church and share with the world the message of the Gospel.