Pope Francis celebrated his first ordinary public consistory on Saturday, during which he created nineteen new cardinals and cautioned them against adopting a “worldly mentality.”
The celebration was also attended by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, whom Pope Francis embraced upon entering the basilica and who was also greeted by secretary of State Pietro Parolin in his address.
The Pope began his allocution with the phrase from the Gospel of St. Mark, read on this occasion: “And Jesus went before them”.
He stressed that Jesus did not come to teach a philosophy, an ideology, but rather a ‘way’, a journey to be undertaken with him. “We learn the way as we go, by walking,” he said. “Yes, dear brothers, this is our joy: to walk with Jesus. But this is not easy, or comfortable, because the way that Jesus chooses is the way of the Cross.”
But he said that unlike the disciples, “we know that Jesus has won, and that we need not fear the Cross; indeed, the Cross is our hope”, continued the Pope. “And yet, we are all too human, sinners, tempted to think as men do, not as God does.”
Thinking as the world thinks leads to “rivalry, jealousy, factions,” he warned, adding that the word which Jesus speaks to us today “is most salutary.”
“It purifies us inwardly, it enlightens our consciences and helps us to unite ourselves fully with Jesus, and to do so together, at this time when the College of Cardinals is enlarged by the entry of new members,” he said.
Recalling that Jesus ‘con-voked’ the disciples, he urged the faithful to listen to him, “with the joy that comes from receiving his word together, from letting ourselves be taught by that word and by the Holy Spirit, and to become ever more of one heart and soul, gathered around him.”
The Pope also underlined how much the Church needs the new cardinals, their cooperation and communion. “The Church needs your courage, to proclaim the Gospel at all times, both in season and out of season, and to bear witness to the truth,” he said.
“The Church needs your prayer for the progress of Christ’s flock, the prayer which, together with the proclamation of the Word, let us not forget, is the primary task of the Bishop,” he added. “The Church needs your compassion, especially at this time of pain and suffering for so many countries throughout the world.”
He expressed the Church’s “spiritual closeness” to the ecclesial communities and to all Christians suffering from discrimination and persecution. “We must fight against every form of discrimination,” he said. “The Church needs our prayer for them, that they may be firm in faith and capable of responding to evil with good. And this prayer of ours extends to every man and women suffering injustice on account of their religious convictions.”
“The Church needs us also to be peacemakers”, he concluded, “building peace by our words, our hopes and our prayers: let us therefore invoke peace and reconciliation for those peoples presently experiencing violence and war. Thank you, dear Brothers. Let us walk together behind the Lord, and let us always be called together by him, in the midst of his faithful people, God’s holy faithful people, our holy Mother the Church”.
Following his allocution, the Pope pronounced the formula for the creation of the new cardinals, their names, and the titular or diaconate churches assigned to them. The new cardinals recited the Creed and gave their oath of faithfulness and obedience to the Pope and his successors. They then received their biretta and ring from the hands of the Holy Father, who also assigned them their title or diaconate.
Newly appointed Cardinal Loris Francesco Capovilla, 98, was not present, and the biretta will be consigned over the next few days to his residence in Sotto il Monte, in the Italian province of Bergamo.