The Extraordinary Consistory and the creation of 20 cardinals from literally every part of the world clearly demonstrates Pope Francis’ intent, as the third year of his pontificate is about to begin. In the sign of communion and collegiality the Pontiff’s central concern is the mission, whose features are delineated in the meditation on the hymn of the charity of St Paul which Bergoglio held in two parts, speaking to the new cardinals and then celebrating with them.
The Church of Rome and her Curia are called each day to set an example of charity. Cardinals have a very special connection to this Church. Now more than ever before, they are a symbol of a catholicity that the Pope described effectively: “to love without limits, but also to be faithful in particular situations and with practical gestures”. If indeed the Church of Rome presides in charity, “each particular Church is called, within its own sphere, to preside in charity”.
For two days, in the Extraordinary Consistory, cardinals from throughout the world discussed and unquestionably supported, in the natural and distinct variety of voices, the reform of the Church and of the Roman Curia, which is necessary and has been called for by the Pontiff in keeping with the indications that emerged during the most recent sede vacante. Pope Francis reminded them and all the faithful of the essence of the Gospel: “For Jesus, what matters above all is reaching out to save those far off, healing the wounds of the sick, restoring everyone to God’s family”.
Archbishop Bergoglio said this to his brothers who came to Rome to elect the bishop, and he repeated this today to the new cardinals: one has to leave one’s “four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those essentially on the ‘outskirts’ of life”, overcoming the recurring temptation of the older brother described in the Gospel parable of the Prodigal Son, forgiven through paternal mercy. And with the knowledge that for a Christian the only honourable way to be labelled is by a willingness to serve others.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 18, 2019
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