Let Us Be Bridges Between Jesus and the People, Says Chile's Cardinal Ezzati

Cardinal Archbishop of Santiago Speaks on Optimism in This Moment of Church History

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The 19 bishops who became cardinals on Saturday lived an intense day. In the morning the Consistory was held in Saint Peter’s Basilica, with the surprise attendance of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. In the afternoon, the new Cardinals had the courtesy visit of friends, relatives and faithful to greet and congratulate them.

The archbishop of Santiago, Chile, Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello was one of those who received the red hat.

During the courtesy visits, ZENIT was able to ask the cardinal about this most significant day.

“It has been moving, but above all a reflection and great and profound prayer to take in what the Pope said to us, that we should be humble, servants and effective collaborators of his. A humility that puts us in the ambit of service, of fraternity, to be at the side of one walking, on the side of the path and effective collaborators in the task of the New Evangelization, especially for this new time which is, without a doubt, very challenging, but it is also a time in which the spring of God’s grace appears. So I’m very optimistic, very happy to be able to serve the Church in my Archdiocese of Santiago and to collaborate with the Holy Father in this task,” Cardinal Ezzati said.

Addressing the concrete situation that Chile is living at this time, the cardinal added that “it is a country, as are all the countries of Latin America, that is experiencing a very profound, epochal change, a cultural change which calls, therefore, for an intelligent, generous and sometimes very sacrificial evangelization. Because, as in Jesus’ time, the proclamation of the Gospel isn’t easy. However, one who receives it, receives also the new life, the generosity of the new life. What is important is that we pastors be pontiffs in the sense of being bridges, so that Jesus will encounter all the people and people can encounter Jesus.”

Cardinal Ezzati also spoke about the surprise visit from Benedict XVI.

“It was very moving. He was the one who appointed me Archbishop of Concepcion and then moved me to Santiago. We had many moments of encounter and dialogue with the Pope Emeritus. An expression of his has stayed engraved in my heart and he asked me to transmit it to the priests, and I have transmitted it faithfully. The Pope said to us ’remember that to be able to stand, one must kneel down.’”

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Rocío Lancho García

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