The Church in the World

Red hat demands humility, says Francis Free

16 January 2014 | by Robert Mickens | Comments: 0

Pope Francis has unveiled the names of 19 men he plans to create cardinals next month at his first consistory. And, in an unprecedented personal letter, he told them simplicity and humility should mark the way they accept and celebrate the appointment.

“Even if you must accept it with happiness and joy, ensure that this sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness or from any form of celebration contrary to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty,” the Pope told the cardinals-designate. He sent them the letter on Sunday, just after announ­cing their appointments at the noontime Angelus in St Peter’s Square.

Westminster’s Archbishop Vincent Nichols, 68, is among those to receive the red hat at the 22 February consistory, a ceremony Pope Francis had already announced on 31 October 2013. The English prelate is one of 16 men from 12 different countries who are to become cardinal-electors. Three other men over the age of 80 will also get the red hat, though they are ineligible to vote in a conclave.

Among the new electors, there were only three surprises. The biggest was the appointment of Haiti’s first cardinal – Bishop Chibly Langlois, 55, of the Diocese of Les Cayes. Then the 74-year-old Archbishop of Cotabato, Orlando Quevedo OMI, is to be the first cardinal in history on the Philippines island of Mindanao. And for the first time since 1854 the red hat will be granted to an Archbishop of Perugia (central Italy) in the person of Cardinal-designate Gualtiero Bassetti. Cardinals-delegate Bassetti and Nichols are the only two residential bishops in Europe who will become cardinals. The heads of  “red-hat” archdioceses such as Mechelen-Brussels, Venice, Turin and Toledo were passed over.

But there are four other Europeans, all Curia officials, among the electors – Cardinals-designate Pietro Parolin, 59, Vatican Secretary of State; Lorenzo Baldisseri, 73, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops; Gerhard Mü?ller, 66, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith prefect; and Beniamino Stella, 72, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

Latin America, with five new cardinal-­electors, constitutes the largest group by geographical region. It includes Cardinals-designate Leopoldo José Brenes Soló´rzano, 64, of Managua (Nicaragua); Orani Joã~o Tempesta, O.Cist., 63, of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Mario Aurelio Poli, 66, of Buenos Aires (Argentina); and Ricardo Ezzati Andrello SDB, 72, of Santiago del Chile (Chile).

Two Africans, who had predecessors that were cardinals, are also on the list. They are Cardinals-designate Jean-Pierre Kutwa, 68, of Abidjan; and Philippe Nakellentuba Oue´draogo, 69, of Ouagadougou. A second Asian among the electors is Cardinal-­designate Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, 70, of Seoul.

For the first time since 1979, no one from the United States will be created cardinal in the upcoming consistory. The only North American is Cardinal-designate Gé´rald Cyprien Lacroix, 56, of Quebec (Canada).

The most notable in the over-80 group is Italian Archbishop Loris Capovilla, 98, the beloved secretary of the soon-to-be-canonised Pope John XXIII. The other two are Cardinals-designate Fernando Sebastiá´n Aguilar CMF, 84, retired Archbishop of Pamplona (Spain); and Kelvin Edward Felix, 81, Archbishop emeritus of Castries (Antilles).

Pope Francis said next month’s consistory will be preceded by a two-day meeting of the entire College of Cardinals to discuss issues pertaining to the family, the topic of the Synod of Bishops for the next two years.

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