On November 28, Pope Francis used the 7th ordinary public consistory of his pontificate to create new cardinals who come from eight countries around the world. The Pope bestowed on them the cardinal’s birretta (red hat), the ring, and the title.
Commenting on a passage from Mark’s Gospel where Jesus speaks about his humiliation, passion, death, and resurrection while approaching Jerusalem, the Pope said that the road to Jerusalem is the road of life and salvation, which is traveled with Christ and which leads to the paschal mystery of Jesus. (Read: 5 Things to Know About Cardinal-Elect Jose Advincula Jr.)
“The cross and the resurrection are part of our history; they are our “today” but also and always the goal of our journey,” the Pope said.
Journeying With God
In his homily, the Pope reminded the new cardinals of the many types of corruption in priestly life. “The scarlet of a Cardinal’s robes, which is the color of blood, can, for a worldly spirit, become the color of a secular eminence,” the Pope said. A person like that “will no longer be the pastor close to the people.”
The Pope added that the road of Jesus and that of the disciples cannot meet. “Only the Lord, through His cross and resurrection, can save His straying friends who risk getting lost.” (Read: Pope Francis Appoints Six Women Leaders to Vatican Economic Council)
“We too, Pope and Cardinals, must always see ourselves reflected in this word of truth.” It is a sharpened sword; it cuts, it proves painful, but it also heals, liberates, and converts us.” Conversion, concluded, means to pass “from being off the road to journeying on God’s road”.
13 New Cardinals
During the consistory, the cardinals-designate professed the creed together and approached Pope Francis. The Pope then placed the red biretta on each of them and gave them the cardinal’s ring and the title and rank. (Read: The Hidden Meaning Behind the Pope’s Accessories)
Cardinals, who are the Pope’s closest collaborators, wear the color red, which symbolizes their readiness to sacrifice themselves “to the point of shedding their own blood” in the service of the Successor of Peter. Even though they live in their own countries, each of them is assigned a titular Church of Rome.
Each new cardinal was allowed only a few guests or family members because of COVID-19. The customary reception in different Vatican locations to allow well-wishers to personally greet the new cardinals, was also scrapped. (Read: Pope Francis Names Archbishop From Capiz as New Filipino Cardinal)
Because of the pandemic, Asia’s two new cardinals, Bishop Cornelius of Brunei and Archbishop Jose Advincula of the Philippines were unable to come to Rome for the consistory. They followed the ceremony that was streamed live from the Vatican. They will be handed their biretta, ring, and title later in their respective countries.