Pope Benedict XVI created 22 new cardinals Feb. 18 at a celebration of the fourth ordinary public consistory of his pontificate in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The new cardinals, the Holy Father said in his homily, “are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for his Church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters, even unto shedding their blood, if necessary, as expressed in the words of placing the biretta and as indicated by the color of their robes.”
They are asked, he added, “to serve the Church with love and vigor, with the transparency and wisdom of teachers, with the energy and strength of shepherds, with the fidelity and courage of martyrs. They are to be eminent servants of the Church that finds in Peter the visible foundation of unity.”
After the ceremony, the Vatican announced that Blessed Maria Anna Cope (nee Barbara), a German religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse, N.Y., and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, an American Indian laywoman, would be among those to be canonized at a ceremony on Oct. 21 this year.
Following the consistory, the College of Cardinals now has 213 members, of whom 125, being under the age of 80, are eligible to vote in an eventual conclave for the election of a new Pope. The non-electors, that is, cardinals over the age of 80 and ineligible to vote in a conclave, now number 88.
Benedict XVI has created 84 cardinals in the four consistories of his pontificate. The current members of the College of Cardinals come from 71 countries, distributed as follows: Europe, 119; North America (U.S. and Canada), 21; Latin America, 32; Africa, 17; Asia, 20; and Oceania, 4.
Following his homily, the Pope pronounced the formula of the creation of the new cardinals, their names and the diaconate or presbyteral order to which they have been assigned. The new cardinals then recited the Creed and swore their faithfulness and obedience to the Pope and his successors. They then received their birettas and rings from the hands of the Pope, who also assigned them their title or diaconate.
Following the ceremony, Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, introduced the ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the following blesseds: Jacques Berthieu, French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits); Pedro Calungsod, Filipino lay catechist and martyr; Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord; Maria del Carmen (nee Maria Salles y Barangueras), Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching; Anna Schaffer, German laywoman, as well as Maria Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha.
Edward Pentin writes from Rome.