Vatican City (Fides Service) – “Resplendent in this Square is the Church of Christ, old yet always new, gathered around the Successor of Peter. Enriched with new members of the College of Cardinals, as she reflects ever more the multiplicity of races and cultures which characterise the Christian people, she gives new emphasis to the unity of every portion of Christ’s flock with the Chair of the Bishop of Rome.” This is a passage of the homily delivered by Pope John Paul II during the 9th ordinary consistory in St Peter’s Square this morning 21 October, for the creation of 31 new cardinals.
During the Liturgy of the Word, the Pope read the formula of creation and proclaimed the names of the new Cardinals. Then, the first of them, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran addressed the Holy Father on behalf of all. After the proclamation of the Gospel the Pope gave his homily. “Venerable brother Cardinals, by title you belong to the clergy of this city whose Bishop is the successor of Peter – the Pope said -. In this way, on the one hand you extend in a sense the ecclesial community in Rome to the far corners of the earth and on the other, you render present here the universal Church. This is an expression of the very nature of the mystical Body of Christ, Family of God which embraces nations and peoples all over the world holding them in the bond of one faith and charity. And Peter is the visible head of this communion. In his ministry the Successor of the Fisherman of Galilee relies on your faithful collaboration; he asks you to accompany him with prayer, while he invokes the Holy Spirit that communion may never weaken among all those whom the Lord as chosen as vicars of his son and constituted bishops.”
After recalling that the red cloth worn by Cardinals “evokes the colour of blood and recalls the heroism of the martyrs, symbols of unlimited love for Jesus and for his Church”, the Pope said “great is the gift given to you and just as great is the responsibility it demands”. “Dear and venerable Brothers only if you become servants of all will you be able to fulfil your mission and help the Successor of Peter to be, in turn, the
The Liturgy continued with the profession of faith by the new Cardinals and the oath of fidelity and obedience to the Pope and his Successors. The Holy Father then imposed the Cardinal’s beret and assigned to each a titular Church in Rome. The service ended with bidding prayers, the Our Father and the final Blessing. (S.L.) (Fides Service 21/10/2003 – lines 33; words 511)