13 new Cardinals express the “missionary vocation of the Church”

Saturday afternoon’s Consistory brings together new cardinals from places that express the Church’s missionary outreach and universal character.

By Vatican News

The word “consistory” comes from the Latin “consistorium”, meaning “a place of assembly” – because the Latin verb “consistere” means, literally, “to stand together”.

Starting in the 11th Century, ecclesial assemblies, or gatherings, became regular opportunities for the Pope to seek advice from his most trusted counsellors, the Cardinals.

Symbols of the consistory

Today, the ceremony during which the Pope creates new Cardinals is also called a Consistory. It includes the presentation of rings and a red hat. The colour itself is a symbol of the blood the Cardinal should be ready to shed, if called to “lay down his life for his sheep”. He is also assigned a titular church in Rome, and his coat of arms may be displayed at the entrance, alongside that of the reigning Pontiff.

A universal Church

When Pope Francis announced the 13 new cardinals, during the Angelus of 1 September, he stressed how “their origins express the missionary vocation of the Church, which continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all people on earth”.

Those origins are in North America, Central America, Africa, Europe and Asia: from Indonesia, Morocco, and Cuba; to Guatemala, Angola, and Luxembourg.

A missionary Church

Eight of the new Cardinals belong to religious orders, and the other five have been diocesan priests, meaning they bring with them a distinctive knowledge and experience of the Church around the world.  

Jesuit Michael Czerny, for example, is Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, is former President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and an expert in Christian-Muslim relations.

College of Cardinals

Prior to Saturday's Consistory, the College of Cardinals included 212 members, 118 of whom are electors. Of the new Cardinals, 10 are under the age of 80, which means they are eligible to vote in the conclave that will elect the next Pope.

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05 October 2019, 12:42