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Pope Francis to cardinals: We are jointly responsible for the Church

August 30, 2022 Catholic News Agency 0
Pope Francis speaks during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Aug. 30, 2022. / Daniel Ibáñez / CNA

Vatican City, Aug 30, 2022 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

We have the same mission to evangelize the world as did the apostles 2,000 years ago, a fact that should fill us with wonder at our position of responsibility, Pope Francis said at Mass with the College of Cardinals Tuesday.

“We continue to marvel at the unfathomable divine decision to evangelize the whole world starting with that ragtag group of disciples, some of whom — as the evangelist tells us — still doubted,” Pope Francis said during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Aug. 30.

“Yet, if we think about it, we should marvel no less if we look at ourselves, gathered here today, to whom the Lord has spoken those same words, given that same mandate.”

Wonder is a way to salvation, the pope continued. “May God keep it ever alive in our hearts, for it sets us free from the temptation of thinking that we can ‘manage things.’ Or from the false security of thinking that today is somehow different, no longer like the origins.”

Francis said: “Today the Church is big, solid, and we occupy eminent positions in its hierarchy… There is some truth in this, but there is also much deception, whereby the Father of Lies seeks to make Christ’s followers first worldly, then innocuous.”

The Mass with the College of Cardinals was offered for the Church. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals, led the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Pope Francis preached at the Mass, in a cope.

In his homily, the pope decried a “cancer of spiritual worldliness.”

A minister of the Church, he said, is “one who experiences wonder before God’s plan and, in that spirit, passionately loves the Church and stands at the service of her mission wherever and however the Holy Spirit may choose.”

He said Catholics should marvel not only at God’s plan of salvation, but at the “even more amazing fact” that God calls them to participate in this plan.

For Catholics, there is a “double mystery of our being blessed in Christ and of going forth with Christ into the world.”

“This wonder,” he said, addressing the new cardinals, “does not diminish with the passing of the years; it does not weaken with our increasing responsibilities in the Church. No, thanks be to God. It grows stronger and deeper.”

The Mass with new cardinals followed two days of closed-door meetings with the College of Cardinals to discuss Pope Francis’ reform of the Roman Curia, as laid out in the constitution Praedicate evangelium.

197 cardinals participated in the extraordinary consistory, the first of its kind in seven years.

In his homily, Pope Francis pointed to Saint Pope Paul VI and his 1964 encyclical on the Church, Ecclesiam Suam.

Saint Paul VI loved the Church with “a love which is first and foremost gratitude, grateful wonder at her mystery and at the gift of our being not only members of the Church, but involved in her life, sharing in and, indeed, jointly responsible for her,” he said.

“At the beginning of his programmatic encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, written during the [Second Vatican] Council,” Francis said, “the first thought that came to the pope’s mind was that ‘the Church needs to cultivate a deeper awareness of her identity… her origin and her mission.’”

“In this regard, he made explicit reference to the Letter to the Ephesians, to ‘the providential plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God… so that through the Church… it may be made known.’”

“This was the case with the Apostle Saint Paul, as we see from his letters. His apostolic zeal and the concern for the community was always accompanied, and indeed preceded, by words of blessing filled with wonder and gratitude: ‘Blessed be God…’” Pope Francis said.

“May it also be the case with us,” he concluded. “May it be the case with each of you, dear brother Cardinals. May the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, obtain this grace for each and every one of us.”


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197 cardinals meet behind closed doors — but what is being discussed?

August 29, 2022 Catholic News Agency 6
The extraordinary consistory of cardinals meets at the Vatican’s Synod Hall, Aug. 29, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Aug 29, 2022 / 11:22 am (CNA).

The cardinals of the Catholic Church have been called to Rome for an extraordinary consistory. It is the first of its kind in seven years — and only the second of the pontificate of Pope Francis. 

197 cardinals have followed the call. But what are they discussing, behind closed doors, this Monday and Tuesday? 

So far, information is hard to come by. Vatican watchers know that the meetings are dedicated to discussing the new constitution of the Roman Curia, Praedicate evangelium. The cardinals are broken up into language groups for the first round of debates. Then they reconvene and discuss their findings in a plenary session — much like was done in recent synods

We also know that the debates form the third consistory within only a few days: The first, on Aug. 27, was dedicated to creating 20 new cardinals. A second, immediately after, to approve the canonization of two blesseds: Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, an Italian bishop and founder of the Missionaries of St. Charles, and Artemide Zatti, an Italian immigrant to Argentina who was a nurse and Salesian Brother.

While this context is significant — as is the historic backdrop of the papal visit to L’Aquila on Sunday — the communication from the Holy See today was sparse indeed, noted one vaticanist, among others: “The entirety of the information we have from the #Vatican as to the meeting today between #PopeFrancis and the world’s Catholic cardinals. One sentence: ‘Taking place today at the Vatican, in the presence of the Holy Father Francis, is the meeting of the cardinals…’”

One cardinal offered a glimpse, at least, of the atmosphere of today’s gathering. The first meeting with the Pope took place in a very fraternal atmosphere, Cardinal Enrico Feroci, pastor of Santa Maria del Divino Amore in Castel di Leva near Rome, told Vatican News.

After the opening prayer, he said, Francis opened the meeting by inviting everyone present to contribute to these two days of reflection on Praedicate evangelium

Cardinal Feroci also said, according to the Vatican’s own reporting, that two reflections had been shared so far: One on Communion, the witness of mutual love among Christians, and one on the challenges of today’s society to open itself to the message of the Gospel. 

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, in a subsequent conversation with Vatican News, again highlighted the great participation of the cardinals in the meeting, where an open and intense dialogue was maintained. 

Tomorrow, these “open and intense” debates will take place in a plenary meeting before this extraordinary consistory concludes: In the afternoon of Aug. 30, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass with entire College of Cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica. 


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Cardinal McElroy celebrates Mass of Thanksgiving in Rome

August 28, 2022 Catholic News Agency 4
Cardinal Robert McElroy, bishop of San Diego, celebrates Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Rome Aug. 28, 2022. / Hannah Brockhaus/CNA

Rome, Italy, Aug 28, 2022 / 12:26 pm (CNA).

Cardinal Robert McElroy spoke about Christian humility Sunday, at his first public Mass since he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis.

The Aug. 28 Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated at St. Patrick’s Church, the American Catholic parish in Rome, Italy. McElroy, 68, is the bishop of San Diego.

“Many people have the wrong notion of what Christian humility is,” McElroy said in his homily. “Humility is not putting ourselves down, it’s not underestimating ourselves, it’s not presenting ourselves as less than we are.”

Christian humility means two things, he said, “Putting aside the pretenses and facades we often put up to try to look better to others than we are. And secondly: challenging, facing, the impulse all of us have to place our own interests ahead of those of others.”

Sunday’s Mass was attended by US Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly and his wife Jill Donnelly.

American Cardinals Roger Mahony, Wilton Gregory, Joseph Tobin, Blase Cupich, Edwin O’Brien, and Daniel DiNardo concelebrated the Mass alongside seven US bishops and around 40 priests.

In his homily, Cardinal McElroy spoke about the 2010 movie “Of Gods and Men,” a fictionalized account of the days leading up to the kidnapping and martyrdom of seven Trappist monks in Algeria in 1996.

After debating among themselves about whether to leave their monastery or to stay put despite teh danger, the monks reached a consensus by “putting aside pretenses,” the cardinal said. “So it is with our lives…”

When we live with facades, they become prisons, he said, while “humility calls us to put aside those facades and to be open with people.”

“Humility,” he continued, “calls us to try to challenge that very common human impulse to place our own selves first. It’s a very hard thing to do in practice because it’s so deep in the human heart and soul and spirit.”

“The Gospel challenges us to do precisely this,” he added, “to take account of the rights, the lives … of others, as much as we do of ourselves.”

“That is Christian humility. That is the humility Christ calls us to in the Gospel of today, and that is the humility we should ask God for today and every day,” McElroy said.


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New cardinals and Pope Francis pay visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

August 27, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI greets Colombian Cardinal Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal at the retired pope’s Vatican residence on Aug. 27, 2022. / Screenshot from EWTN video

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 27, 2022 / 12:55 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis joined 19 of the Church’s 20 newly installed cardinals Saturday in a visit with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at his Vatican residence.

Video and photos of the brief encounter provided by Vatican Media showed Pope Francis and the cardinals individually greeting the 95-year-old retired pope, who was seated in a chair. The cardinals received a blessing from both Francis and Benedict and joined them in singing the Salve Regina.

Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Ghana was unable to attend the visit for health reasons.


The Dispatch

Jesus asks us, ‘can I count on you?’ — Pope Francis creates 20 cardinals for the Catholic Church

August 27, 2022 Catholic News Agency 12
Pope Francis with Cardinal Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery of Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments, at the consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica, Aug. 27, 2022 / Daniel Ibáñez / CNA

Rome Newsroom, Aug 27, 2022 / 08:31 am (CNA).

Pope Francis created 20 new cardinals for the Catholic Church during a liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica Saturday.

“Jesus calls us by name; he looks us in the eye and he asks: Can I count on you?” Pope Francis said in a homily addressed to the College of Cardinals and its new members on Aug. 27.

“The Lord,” he said, “wants to bestow on us his own apostolic courage, his zeal for the salvation of every human being, without exception. He wants to share with us his magnanimity, his boundless and unconditional love, for his heart is afire with the mercy of the Father.”

The pope’s reflection followed a reading from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 49-50: “In that time, Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!’”

“The words of Jesus, in the very middle of the Gospel of Luke, pierce us like an arrow,” Francis said.

“The Lord calls us once more to follow him along the path of his mission,” he said. “A fiery mission – like that of Elijah – not only for what he came to accomplish but also for how he accomplished it. And to us who in the Church have been chosen from among the people for a ministry of particular service, it is as if Jesus is handing us a lighted torch and telling us: ‘Take this; as the Father has sent me so I now send you.’”

The pope ended his homily mentioning that one cardinal-elect, Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Wa (Ghana), was not present. Francis asked for prayers for the African prelate, explaining Baawobr had been taken ill. 

At the beginning of the consistory, Pope Francis pronounced the opening prayer of the ceremony in Latin.

During the ceremony, the new cardinals made a profession of faith by reciting the Creed. They then pronounced an oath of fidelity and obedience to the pope and his successors.

Each cardinal then approached Pope Francis, kneeling before him to receive the red birretta, the cardinal’s ring, and a document naming the titular church he has been assigned.

Pope Francis embraced each new cardinal, saying to him: “Pax Domini sit semper tecum,” which is Latin for “the peace of the Lord be with you always.” Each cardinal responded: “Amen.”

The new cardinals also exchanged a sign of peace with a number of the members of the College of Cardinals, representative of the whole college.

While placing the red biretta on the head of each cardinal, the pope recited these words: “To the glory of almighty God and the honor of the Apostolic See, receive the scarlet biretta as a sign of the dignity of the cardinalate, signifying your readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquility of the people of God and for the freedom and growth of the Holy Roman Church.”

As he gave each new cardinal the ring, Francis said: “Receive this ring from the hand of Peter and know that, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, your love for the Church is strengthened.”

In his homily, the pope said: “The Lord wants to bestow on us his own apostolic courage, his zeal for the salvation of every human being, without exception. He wants to share with us his magnanimity, his boundless and unconditional love, for his heart is afire with the mercy of the Father.”

He also recalled another kind of fire, that of charcoal. “This fire,” he said, “burns in a particular way in the prayer of adoration, when we silently stand before the Eucharist and bask in the humble, discreet and hidden presence of the Lord. Like that charcoal fire, his presence becomes warmth and nourishment for our daily life.”

“A Cardinal loves the Church, always with that same spiritual fire, whether dealing with great questions or handling everyday problems, with the powerful of this world or those ordinary people who are great in God’s eyes,” he said.

The pope named three men as examples for the cardinals to follow: Saint Charles de Foucauld, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, and Cardinal Van Thuân.

The consistory to create cardinals also included a greeting and thank you to Pope Francis, expressed by Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the liturgy dicastery, on behalf of all the new cardinals.

Cardinal Arthur Roche speaking on behalf of the new cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica, Aug. 27. 2022. Daniel Ibáñez / CNA
Cardinal Arthur Roche speaking on behalf of the new cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica, Aug. 27. 2022. Daniel Ibáñez / CNA

“All of us, coming from different parts of the world, with our personal stories and different life situations, carry out our ministry in the vineyard of the Lord. As diocesan and religious priests, we are at the service of preaching the Gospel in many different ways and in different cultures, but always united in the one faith and the one Church,” Roche said.

“Now, in manifesting your trust in us, you call us to this new service, in an even closer collaboration with your ministry, within the broad horizon of the universal Church,” he continued. “God knows the dust of which we are all made, and we know well that without Him we are capable of falling short.”

Roche quoted Saint Gregory the Great, who once wrote to a bishop: “We are all weak, but he is weakest of all who ignores his own weakness.”

“However, we draw strength from you, Holy Father,” he said, “from your witness, your spirit of service and your call to the entire Church to follow the Lord with greater fidelity; living the joy of the Gospel with discernment, courage and, above all, with an openness of heart that manifests itself in welcoming everyone, especially those who suffer the injustice of poverty that marginalizes, the suffering of pain that seeks a response of meaning, the violence of wars that turn brothers into enemies. We share with you the desire and commitment for communion in the Church.” 

At the end of the consistory to create cardinals, Pope Francis convened a consistory for the cardinals to give their approval to the canonizations of Blessed Artemide Zatti and Giovanni Battista Scalabrini.

The new cardinals are:

— Cardinal Arthur Roche, 72, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and former Bishop of Leeds (England);

— Lazarus You Heung-sik, 70, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy and former Bishop of Daejeon (South Korea);

— Jean-Marc Noël Aveline, 63, Archbishop of Marseille, the first French diocesan bishop to get the honor during Pope Francis’ pontificate;

— Peter Ebere Okpaleke, 59, Bishop of Ekwulobia in the central region of Nigeria, who was created bishop in 2012 by Benedict XVI;

— Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, 77, Archbishop of Manaus, in Brazil’s Amazon region, a Franciscan who played a leading role during the Amazon Synod and as Vice President of the recently created Amazonian Bishops’ Conference;

— Filipe Neri António Sebastião do Rosário Ferrão, 69, Archbishop of Goa (India), appointed bishop by St. John Paul II in 1993;

— Robert McElroy, 68, Bishop of San Diego (United States), whose diocese is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, led by the President of the USCCB, Archbishop José Gomez;

— Virgilio do Carmo Da Silva, 68, a Salesian, since 2019 the Archbishop of Dili (East Timor);

— Oscar Cantoni, 71, Bishop of Como (Italy), appointed in January 2005 by St. John Paul II, who is suffragan to Milan;

— Archbishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, L.C., 77, president of the Governorate of the Vatican City State and of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State; the Spaniard is the first Legionary of Christ to become a cardinal;

— Anthony Poola, 60, Archbishop of Hyderabad (India), a bishop since 2008 and the first dalit to become a cardinal;

–Paulo Cezar Costa, 54, Archbishop of Brasilia (Brazil), the fourth archbishop of the Brazilian capital to become a cardinal;

— Richard Kuuia Baawobr, 62, Bishop of Wa (Ghana), former Superior General of the White Fathers, and bishop since 2016;

— William Goh Seng Chye, 65, Archbishop of Singapore since 2013;

— Adalberto Martinez Flores, 71, Archbishop of Asunción (Paraguay) and the first Paraguayan cardinal;

— Giorgio Marengo, 47, Italian Missionary of the Consolata and Apostolic Prefect of Ulan Bator in Mongolia, the youngest cardinal in recent history, along with Karol Wojtyla, who also was created a cardinal at 47, during the consistory of June 26, 1967.

Furthermore, Pope Francis appointed the following prelates over the age of 80, who are therefore excluded from attending a future conclave. 

Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal, 80, Archbishop Emeritus of Cartagena (Colombia); Arrigo Miglio, 80, Archbishop Emeritus of Cagliari (Italy); Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a Jesuit and former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, who extensively collaborated in the drafting of the  Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium; and Fortunato Frezza, 80, (Italy) currently a Canon at the Basilica of St. Peter, who collaborated for several years at the Secretariat General for the Synod of the Bishops. 

Pope Francis had originally also nominated Ghent Bishop Luc Van Looy, 80, who later declined to accept the post because of criticism of his response to clergy abuse cases.