Vatican City, Jan 24, 2015 / 07:02 am America/Denver (CNA).
In a letter to the 20 bishops who will be elevated to the cardinalate next month, Pope Francis said that the role is one of sacrificial service rather than an award, and cautioned against a worldly mindset.
“Keeping oneself humble in service is not easy when one sees the cardinalate as an award, like the culmination of a career, a dignity of power or of superior distinction,” the Pope told the cardinals-to-be in a Jan. 4 letter.
He told the appointees to accept their new role with humility, so that “the spirit of worldliness does not creep in; the spirit that stuns more than grappa on a fast, disorienting and separating one from the cross of Christ.”
Pope Francis made his reference to the Italian alcoholic beverage in a letter that was sent to the new cardinal nominees on the same day that their selection was made public.
In his letter, the pontiff explained that to be a cardinal in the Catholic Church is “a vocation” that is oriented towards service.
“The Lord, through the Church, calls you yet again to serve,” he told the new cardinal-nominees, and encouraged them to keep the phrase “We are unworthy servants” in their minds in order to maintain humility.
What this phrase means is not merely “a formula of good upbringing, but as truth after work, ‘when you have done all that is commanded you,’” the Bishop of Rome observed.
He noted how the temptation might arise to view their nomination to the cardinalate as a position of power or as a promotion in a career path, and urged the nominees to make a daily effort in warding off these ideas.
The Roman Pontiff especially encouraged them to remember that “being a Cardinal signifies being incardinated in the Diocese of Rome in order to bear witness to the Resurrection of the Lord and to give it totally, even with your blood if necessary.”
Amid the many celebrations that will be taking place honoring their new appointment, Pope Francis told the cardinal-appointees to participate fully and joyfully, but to “accept it with humility.”
He concluded his letter by asking the new cardinals-to-be to prepare themselves for their Feb. 14 installation with prayer and penance, but also with “great peace and joy.”
Among the 15 new cardinals under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in the next conclave are five European bishops, three from the continent of Asia, three from Latin America, including Mexico, two from Africa and two from Oceania.
Cape Verde, Myanmar and Tonga are three of the countries represented by the new cardinals. Characterized by small ecclesial communities or as representing a minority presence, none of the dioceses has had a cardinal until now.
The names of the new cardinals coming from Europe are: Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo (Italy); Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento (Italy); Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez of Vallodolid (Spain) and Archbishiop Manuel José Macario do Nascimento Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon (Portugal).
New cardinals representing Latin America and Mexico are: Archbishop Alberto Suàrez Inda of Morelia (Mexico); Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B., of Montevideo (Uruguay) and Bishop José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, O.A.R., of David (Panamá).
Others, including from Africa and Asia, are: Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M., of Addis Abeba (Ethiopia); Archbishop Pierre Nguyên Van Nhon of Hà Nôi (Viêt Nam); Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., of Yangon (Myanmar); Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok (Thailand); Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, of Santiago de Cabo Verde (Archipelago of Cape Verde); Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga (Island of Tonga) and Archbishop John Atcherley Dew of Wellington (New Zealand).
In addition to the 15 cardinal electors, Pope Francis named five other bishops over the age of 80 who will be elevated due to their “pastoral charity in the service of the Holy See and of the Church.”
The names of the new non-elector cardinals are: José de Jesús Pimiento Rodriguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales (Colombia); Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Major Pro-Penitentiary Emeritus (Italy); Archbishop Karl-Joseph Rauber, Apostolic Nuncio (Germany); Luis Héctor Villaba, Archbishop Emeritus of Tucumán (Argentina) and Júlio Duarte Langa, Bishop Emeritus of Xai-Xai (Mozambique).