He had announced his intention to create the new cardinals during a Regina Coeli address on May 21st.
Immediately following a reading from the Gospel of Matthew and his short reflection, the Pope made the proclamation creating the new cardinals. Afterward they received their red biretta and cardinal’s ring. At this time they were also assigned a titular church, tying them to Rome.
In his choice of cardinals, Pope Francis has remained true to his vision of a broader, more universal representation of the Church, forged during his last consistory, Nov. 19, 2016, where he created 17 new cardinals from 11 different nations and five different continents.
Among this consistory's picks are Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm, Sweden, and Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, Apostolic Vicar of Pakse, Laos and Apostolic Administrator of Vientiane, and Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali.
All three are the first cardinals from their respective countries.
Also noteworthy is his appointment of San Salvador’s auxiliary bishop, José Gregorio Rosa Chávez, marking the first time the Pope has tapped an auxiliary as cardinal.
Bishop Chávez was chosen over his archbishop, Jose Luis Escobar Alas, for the red hat, showing that Francis, as seen in his previous appointments, is willing to skip over “cardinal sees.”
In contrast to the other four is Archbishop Juan José Omella of Barcelona, Spain. His red hat is not a dramatic departure from tradition, as Barcelona is traditionally a see with a cardinal and Archbishop Omella’s predecessor, Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, turned 80 on April 29.
All of the new cardinals are under 80, and therefore eligible to vote in the next conclave.
In his homily, Francis reflected on the Gospel heard during the ceremony, which came from Matthew 10:32-45. In the passage, Jesus and the disciples are walking toward Jerusalem. This is when the third prediction of the Passion of Christ happens, which is nearing.
“‘Jesus was walking ahead of them.’ This is the picture that the Gospel we have just read presents to us. It serves as a backdrop to the act now taking place: this Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals,” he said.
Jesus walks ahead of them with full knowledge of what is going to take place in Jerusalem, but at this moment there is a divide, a distance, between his heart and the hearts of his disciples, which only the Holy Spirit can bridge, Francis said.
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He knows this and is patient with them. “Above all, he goes before them. He walks ahead of them.”
Along the way, though, the disciples become distracted by things which have nothing to do with what Jesus is preparing to do, or with the will of the Father.
“They are not facing reality! They think they see, but they don’t. They think they know, but they don’t. They think they understand better than the others, but they don’t…” the Pope exclaimed.
“For the reality is completely different. It is what Jesus sees and what directs his steps. The reality is the cross.”
This reality, Francis continued, is the sin of the world, which the Lord came to take upon himself and to “uproot from the world of men and women.”
The reality of sin is manifest in the world in the innocent who suffer and die as victims of war and terrorism, in the many forms of human slavery that exist, he said. It’s found also in refugee camps, which are more like hell than purgatory, and it’s in the discarding of people and things that society doesn’t find useful.