The Catholic Church has twenty new cardinals drawn from every corner of the world, from Brazil to India, from East Timor to South Korea, and from France to the United States. The Pope called them not because of the size of their parishes or because of the weight of the Catholic Church in their countries, but he wanted to highlight, once again, the realities that are often on the fringes of the world.
The Pope asked the new cardinals to treat the mighty of the earth and the little ones in the same way: “The cardinal loves the Church, always with the same spiritual fire, both in dealing with great questions and in dealing with small questions; and by meeting the great men of this world, who ought to do so, many times , whether small, who are great before God.” But Francis does not forget the difficult moment that the world is going through, starting with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and warns of the danger of a new Cold War. The Pope then quoted in his homily Cardinal Agostino Casaroli (who was the Vatican’s Secretary of State from 1979 to 1990), “famous for his open-mindedness in support of the new prospects of Europe after the Cold War, with wise dialogue.
God forbid, that human short-sightedness – Francis emphasized – closes again those horizons that it has opened. The delegations accompanying the new cardinals, the faithful who greet them in the Apostolic Palace, are always one of the most memorable moments in the Church, his successor, and today most of the electorate cardinals are made by Francis himself: 83 out of 132.
There are 38 electorate cardinals established by Benedict XVI in the college and 11 others who are chosen by Pope Wojtyla. In all, 226 cardinals, including those over 80, did not vote. Twenty lilacs brought different pieces of the world to the center of the church: from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, to the divisions between the two Koreas, and from the minority church in Greater India to the one constantly under attack from Nigeria. Five Italians and among them the person who is now the world’s youngest cardinal: Giorgio Marengo, 48, was a missionary in Mongolia twenty years ago. Cardinal Angelo Bessio also took part in the council, as he himself declared, before the court in the Vatican to administer the funds of the State Trust. At the end of the celebration, the Pope also set the date of the canonization of Giovanni Battista Scalabrine and Artemide Zatti, two saints who, due to their history, can be considered the “patrons” of immigrants. They will be beatified on October 9 in San Pietro.
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