The Vatican

"Creative fidelity", Pope Francis' request to the new cardinals.

Pope Francis said today in St. Peter's, at the Consistory for the creation of 21 new cardinals of the Catholic Church, that "Pentecost - like the baptism of each one of us - is not an event of the past, and that "the Church - and each one of its members - lives from this ever-present mystery". He also compared the College of Cardinals to a "symphonic and synodal orchestra".

Francisco Otamendi-September 30, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes

The new cardinals recite the profession of faith and promise obedience to the Pope before receiving the cardinal's capelet ©CNS photo/Vatican Media

In the ninth public consistory of Pope Francis, held on a sunny day in the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, bringing the number of cardinals to 242, of whom 137 would be electors in a future conclave, the Holy Father wanted to reflect on the topicality of Pentecost in the Church, in the context of the upcoming Synod that will begin on October 4. 

The ceremony for the presentation of the cardinal's biretta to the 21 new cardinalsThe ceremony, of which 18 are under 80 years of age, and are therefore already electors, began at 10 a.m. and was attended by authorities, diplomats, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and religious from all over the world, as well as numerous faithful from the countries of origin of the new cardinals. 

After the reading of the excerpt from the Acts of the Apostles (12:1-11), chosen by the Pope, the Roman Pontiff has stated that "Pentecost - like the baptism of each one of us - is not an event of the past, it is a creative act that God continually renews. The Church - and each of its members - lives from this ever-present mystery. She does not live "on rents", no, much less on an archaeological patrimony, however valuable and noble it may be. The Church - and each baptized person - lives from God's present, through the action of the Holy Spirit. Even the act we are performing here now has meaning if we live it in this perspective of faith.

Vocation and mission

"And today, in the light of the Word, we can understand this reality: you, neocardinals, have come from various parts of the world and the same Holy Spirit who made fruitful the evangelization of your peoples now renews in you your vocation and mission in the Church and for the Church," the Holy Father stressed.

Shortly before, Francis had pointed out to them: "Do not forget this: the faith is transmitted in dialect, by mothers and grandmothers. Indeed, we are evangelizers to the extent that we keep in our hearts the wonder and gratitude of having been evangelized; indeed, of being evangelized, because in reality it is an ever-present gift, which needs to be continually renewed in memory and in faith. Evangelizers evangelized and not functionaries".

Symphony and synodality of the Church

From this reflection, "I would simply like to draw a consequence for you, my brother cardinals, and for your College," the Pope continued. "And I would like to express it with an image, that of the orchestra."

"The College of Cardinals is called to resemble a symphony orchestra, which represents the symphony and synodality of the Church. I also say 'synodality' not only because we are on the eve of the first Assembly of the Synod which has precisely this theme, but because it seems to me that the metaphor of the orchestra can illuminate well the synodal character of the Church."

Reciprocal listening and creative fidelity

A symphony comes to life from the wise composition of sounds of the different instruments, the Pope pointed out. "Each one makes its contribution, sometimes alone, sometimes united with another, sometimes with the whole ensemble. Diversity is necessary, indispensable. But each sound must contribute to the common project". 

"And for that, reciprocal listening is fundamental. Each musician must listen to the others. If one listens only to oneself, no matter how sublime one's sound may be, it will not benefit the symphony; and the same would happen if one section of the orchestra did not listen to the others, but sounded as if it were alone, as if it were the whole." 

"The conductor of the orchestra is at the service of this kind of miracle that each performance of a symphony represents. He must listen more than all the others," Pope Francis added, "and at the same time his task is to help each one and the whole orchestra to develop to the utmost its creative fidelity, fidelity to the work being performed, but creative, capable of giving a soul to that score, of making it sound in the here and now in a unique way."

Holy Spirit, master of walking together

The Holy Father went on to affirm that "it is good for us to reflect on the image of the orchestra, so that we can learn ever better how to be a symphonic and synodal Church. I propose it particularly to you, members of the College of Cardinals, in the comforting confidence that we have the Holy Spirit as our teacher - He is the protagonist -: the inner teacher of each one of us and the teacher of our journey together".

"He creates variety and unity, He is harmony itself. St. Basil seeks a synthesis when he says: "Ipse harmonia est", He is harmony itself. We entrust ourselves to his sweet and strong guidance, and to the solicitous protection of the Virgin Mary," the Pope concluded.

The new cardinals

The 21 newly created cardinals who received this morning from Pope Francis the imposition of the biretta, the presentation of the ring and the assignment of the title or deaconry are: 

- Robert Francis Prevost, O.S.A., Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops; 

- Claudio Gugerotti, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches; 

- Víctor Manuel Fernández, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith; 

- Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Apostolic Nuncio; 

- Christophe Louis Yves Georges Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio; 

- H.B. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; 

- Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town (Kaapstad); 

- Ángel Sixto Rossi, S.I., Archbishop of Córdoba (Argentina);

- Luis José Rueda Aparicio, Archbishop of Bogotá; 

- Grzegorz Ryś, Archbishop of Łódź; 

- Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, Archbishop of Juba; 

- José Cobo Cano, Archbishop of Madrid; 

- Protase Rugambwa, Coadjutor Archbishop of Tabora; 

- Sebastian Francis, Bishop of Penang; 

- Stephen Chow Sau-yan, S.I., Bishop of Hong Kong; 

- François-Xavier Bustillo, O.F.M. Conv., Bishop of Ajaccio; 

- Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar, Auxiliary Bishop of Lisbon; 

- Ángel Fernández Artime, S.D.B., Rector Major of the Salesians; 

- Agostino Marchetto, Apostolic Nuncio; 

- Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez, Archbishop Emeritus of Cumaná; 

- Luis Pascual Dri, O.F.M. Cap., Confessor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii,

Buenos Aires (who could not be present at the ceremony).

At the beginning of the celebration, the first of the new cardinals, Robert Francis Prevost, O.S.A., Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, addressed to the Pope, on behalf of all, an address of homage and thanksgiving. 

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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