ROME, NOV. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The 24 men who will receive the cardinal’s hat on Saturday spent today gathered in reflection and prayer, looking together at key themes facing the Church today, including religious freedom and the sex abuse scandal.
Close to 150 cardinals came together for the reflection day; Benedict XVI began the morning with them and the future cardinals.
The morning session dealt with two themes: the situation of and new challenges for religious freedom, and the liturgy in the life of the Church today.
In the Holy Father’s own introduction to the day’s reflections, he noted that Christ’s command to announce the Gospel implicitly demands the freedom to do so — a freedom that is today threatened by relativism.
“The relation between truth and liberty is essential, but today it finds itself before the great challenge of relativism,” he said, “which appears to complete the concept of liberty, but in reality puts it at the risk of being destroyed, becoming an authentic ‘dictatorship.'”
Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, and Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, then expanded on the two morning themes.
In Cardinal Bertone’s overview of restrictions on Christian freedom, he particularly pointed out the situation in Western states. The prelate went on to speak not only of threats from secularization but also of the situation of religious freedom in Muslim nations.
At 1 p.m., the Holy Father offered lunch in honor of the prelates.
In the afternoon, the cardinals and the future members of the college again gathered for two themes. They were: Norms for welcoming Anglicans who request to be admitted to the Catholic Church, and for defending victims of child abuse by members of the clergy. This theme was introduced by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The second theme was the validity of “Dominus Iesus” on Jesus Christ our only Savior, published 10 years ago. This was introduced by Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.
The 24 future cardinals will receive this dignity in a ceremony on Saturday that begins at 10:30 a.m. It follows a new rite established in 1991.
After a liturgical greeting, the Pope reads the formula of creation, and solemnly proclaims the names of the new cardinals. The first of the new cardinals then addresses the Holy Father on behalf of them all.
This is followed by the Liturgy of the Word, the Pope’s homily, the profession of faith and the taking of the oath by each cardinal.
Each new cardinal then approaches the Holy Father and kneels before him to receive the cardinal’s biretta and to be assigned a title or deaconry. This is followed by a kiss of peace.
And the rite concludes with the Prayer of the Faithful, the recitation of the Our Father and the final blessing.
There are two archbishops from the United States among the group: Cardinals-designate Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.