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Meet the two new cardinals with ties to the U.S. 

July 10, 2023 Catholic News Agency 6
Archbishop Robert Prevost and Archbishop Christophe Pierre were among the 21 named cardinals by Pope Francis on Sunday, July 9, 2023. / Frayjhonattan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons/L’Osservatore Romano

Washington D.C., Jul 10, 2023 / 15:20 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis named 21 new cardinals Sunday, two of whom, Archbishop Robert Prevost and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, have deep ties to the Church in the United States.

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, responded to the pope’s announcement in a Sunday statement, calling on the faithful to pray for the American Church’s newest cardinals.

“Please join me in praying for Cardinal-designate Prevost and Cardinal-designate Pierre as they continue their lives of service to the universal Church,” Broglio said. 

Broglio added that “for the Church in the United States, their ministry has been a true blessing. Our episcopal conference rejoices in this sign of recognition of these distinguished Churchmen.”

Prevost and Pierre will be formally elevated to the rank of cardinal, the highest position in the Church besides the pope, on Sept. 30.

So, who are the two new cardinals with U.S. ties?

Archbishop Robert Prevost

Archbishop Robert Prevost, 67, is the new head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops, an influential position responsible for recommending new bishops to the pope.

Born in Chicago, Prevost graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Pennsylvania’s Villanova University in 1977. That same year he joined the Order of St. Augustine, also known as the Augustinians, making his solemn vows in 1981. He earned a master’s of divinity degree from Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union in 1982 and was ordained an Augustinian priest that same year. After being ordained, Prevost earned a doctorate in canon law from Rome’s Pontifical College of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1987.

He returned to Chicago for a short time in 1987, serving as pastor for vocations and director of missions for the Augustinian Province of Chicago. Prevost was then sent to Peru, where he served the Augustinians in various capacities including as a regional ecclesiastical judge and teacher of canon law in the diocesan seminary for Trujillo, Peru, for 10 years.

After being elected the head of the Augustinian Province of Chicago, Prevost returned to the U.S. in 1999. He was elected prior general of the Augustinians in 2001 and then reelected in 2007, serving as head of the order until 2013.

Pope Francis appointed Prevost as apostolic administrator of Chiclayo, Peru, in 2014, and he was ordained titular bishop of Sufar that same year.

While serving the Church in Peru, Francis made Prevost a member of the Dicastery for the Clergy in 2019 and then a member of the Dicastery for Bishops in 2020. On Jan. 30, Francis made Prevost prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, a position he took up succeeding Cardinal Marc Ouellet on April 12.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, 77, is the current apostolic nuncio to the United States, a position in which he serves as the Holy See’s representative to America. Pierre has extensive experience in the Church’s diplomatic corps and can speak French, English, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Born in Rennes, in northwestern France, Pierre attended school in Antisirabé, Madagascar, Saint-Malo, France, and Marrakesh, Morocco. He entered the seminary in Rennes in 1963. His time at the seminary was interrupted by two years of service in the French military, 1965-1966. After returning to the seminary, he was ordained a priest in 1970.

Pierre earned a master’s degree in sacred theology from the Catholic University of Paris in 1971 and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University in 1977. 

After studying at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, Pierre went on to serve the Church as a diplomatic representative to New Zealand and the islands of the Pacific Ocean (1977–1981), Mozambique (1981), Zimbabwe (1982–1986), Cuba (1986–1989), Brazil (1989–1991), and as the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva (1991–1995). 

In 1995, Pierre was ordained a bishop in Saint-Malo, France. Pope John Paul II appointed him as the apostolic nuncio to Haiti, a position he held from 1995 to 1999. He then served as the apostolic nuncio to Uganda (1999–2007) and then to Mexico (2007–2016). 

After the retirement of Archbishop Carlo Viganò, Pope Francis appointed Pierre apostolic nuncio to the United States on April 12, 2016. 


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U.S. cardinals react to Benedict XVI’s death

January 1, 2023 Catholic News Agency 3
New cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan (L), Archbishop of New York, receives the biretta cap from Pope Benedict XVI in Saint Peter’s Basilica on February 18, 2012 in Vatican City, Vatican. / Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 1, 2023 / 11:33 am (CNA).

Since the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, members of the College of Cardinals from the United States have offered tributes to the late pope who they remember as a “scholar” and “true disciple.”

Here is a round-up of statements from the U.S. cardinals:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archdiocese of New York

Cardinal Timothy Dolan called Benedict XVI “a good shepherd and Holy Father.” In an interview with Newsmax Dolan shared that he met Benedict XVI “innumerable times” and was “always impressed with his ability to listen,” adding that “he knew the biblical, that before you can be a teacher you’ve got to be a listener.”  

Dolan compared Benedict’s passing to losing a grandparent or elderly parent, saying “we knew it was coming,” but that “it’s still a shock when it comes.” 

In a statement, Dolan said, “The human family grieves the passing of this erudite, wise, and holy man, who spoke the truth with love.”

Dolan called to mind Benedict XVI’s pastoral visit to the Archdiocese of New York in 2008 and shared his personal sense of loss at the former pope’s death, saying, “he was so encouraging, and appointed me Archbishop of New York and nominated me a Cardinal.”

Dolan said Benedict’s legacy will be that of “faith and reason” and called for every parish in his archdiocese to offer a Mass for Benedict’s soul, concluding, “may the angels lead him into paradise!” 

Read Dolan’s full statement here.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal Blase Cupich stated that “Pope Benedict XVI taught us that belief in God means completely placing our trust in Divine Providence.”

“Throughout his life as a scholar and as a churchman, he showed us what it means to fulfill the ancient command to love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind,” said Cupich.

“I think he will be remembered as a man who was single-focused on serving others and serving God,” Cupich told ABC 7.

Read Cupich’s full statement here

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said that “it is with deep sadness and hope in the Resurrection that we mourn the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.” 

DiNardo called Benedict a “true pastor of souls and son of the Church,” saying the former pope “shepherded the Church with great love.” 

“His keen intellect invigorated the New Evangelization,” said DiNardo, and inspired “countless men and women to spread the Gospel by the example of their lives.” 

“May the Lord now welcome this faithful servant into the heavenly liturgy of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb,” DiNardo said. 

Read DiNardo’s full statement here

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archdiocese of Boston

“Today, a loving God called Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI home to his eternal reward for a lifetime of dedicated service to the Church,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley. 

“Perhaps the most moving experience for me was accompanying survivors of clergy sexual abuse to a meeting with the Holy Father in Washington, D.C. during his 2008 pastoral visit to the United States,” O’Malley said. “Pope Benedict XVI recognized the pain experienced by survivors and all persons impacted by the abuse crisis.”

“I will miss Pope Benedict,” said O’Malley. “His fidelity to maintaining the truth and clarity of the Catholic faith, cultivating ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and reaching out to inspire the next generation of Catholics have been great gifts to us all.”

Read O’Malley’s full statement here.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archdiocese of Newark

Cardinal Joseph Tobin shared his prayer for the former pope, saying, “May the Angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs greet you at your arrival and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem. May the choir of Angels greet you and like Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest” (In Paradism). May he rest in the peace of Christ.” 

Cardinal Robert McElroy, Diocese of San Diego

“The death of Pope Benedict is a moment of both sadness and gratitude,” said Cardinal Robert McElroy, who was appointed a cardinal just this May.

McElroy called Benedict a “theologian of immense depth” as well as a “caring pastor” and a “prayerful servant who unswervingly sought to follow the pathway to which God was calling him.”

“In faith we know that he goes to the loving embrace of the God whom he had served with sacrifice and courage, brilliance and wisdom, humility and kindness for his entire life,” said McElroy.

Read the full statement here

Cardinal Raymond Burke

“It was my honor to serve him as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura,” said Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura and archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. “In my meetings with him, while he was still Roman Pontiff and after his abdication, I was always impressed by his extraordinary intelligence and knowledge, coupled with Christ-like meekness.”

Burke said that Benedict’s teaching regarding the sacred liturgy will remain “a lasting and living heritage.” 

“He was an especially gifted teacher of the Catholic Faith with a particular appreciation of the highest and most perfect expression of the Faith: Sacred Worship,” said Burke. 

Burke called the former pope’s passing “sad,” saying that Benedict had “continued to be a source of many graces for the Church, especially by the offering of his prayers and sufferings for so many needs of the Church in our time.”

Read Burke’s full statement here

Cardinal Justin Rigali

“I had the privilege of knowing Pope Benedict for many years, going back to his time as a cardinal of the Church — Cardinal Ratzinger,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia. 

Rigali recalled his participation in the election of Benedict XVI, saying, “it was a privilege to participate in the election of Pope Benedict. I can remember when I went up to the pope and knelt before him to show my respect and offer to him my pledge to be faithful and obedient, the first thing that Pope Benedict said to me was, ‘Happy Birthday, your eminence.’ It was my 70th birthday. Pope Benedict remembered that, and that is a memory I will always carry with me.”

Read more of Rigali’s statements here

Cardinal James Stafford

Cardinal James Stafford, who participated in the former pope’s election, called Benedict XVI “a true disciple,” Denver Catholic reported.

“Pope Benedict XVI was dedicated to the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth,” said Stafford, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Denver. 

Stafford shared, “In afternoon walks in the Vatican Gardens I sometimes encountered Pope Benedict. I thought that here was a true disciple ‘who walks with Jesus and is thus caught up with Him into communion with God.’” Concluding, “May he rest in peace!” 

Read more of Stafford’s statement here


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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.