Pope creates 22 new cardinals, calls them to love, service

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church officially has 22 new cardinals, including three from the United States and Canada: Cardinals Timothy M. Dolan of New York; Edwin F. O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and former archbishop of Baltimore, Md.; and Thomas C. Collins of Toronto.

Pope Benedict XVI created the new cardinals, who come from 13 countries, during a consistory this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica. He placed red hats — a three-cornered biretta — on their heads and placed a cardinal’s ring on their fingers.

The basilica was packed and several thousand people had to watch from large video screens set up in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope told the new cardinals that love and service, not an air of greatness, are to mark their lives as cardinals.

“Dominion and service, egoism and altruism, possession and gift, self-interest and gratuitousness: these profoundly contrasting approaches confront each other in every age and place,” he said, but the cardinals must model their lives on that of Jesus, loving others to the point of giving up his life for them.

“He is servant inasmuch as he welcomes within himself the fate of the suffering and sin of all humanity. His service is realized in total faithfulness and complete responsibility toward mankind,” the pope said.

In all things, Pope Benedict said, “the new cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for his church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters, even unto shedding their blood, if necessary,” a fact underlined by the red color of the biretta — a three-cornered hat — and the red cardinal’s robes.

Video: Cardinals-to-be on their role

We spoke this week with the three North American prelates who will become cardinals tomorrow. You can read CNS Rome bureau chief Francis X. Rocca story here and/or watch the video below.

Just between us

Nearly a week before the start of this year’s Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, I got a phone call from Father Sinclair Oubre, head of the Catholic Labor Network, one of the gathering’s many co-sponsors that holds a “wrap-around” meeting the day before the formal kickoff.

The discussion topics at the Catholic Labor Network meeting, he told me, would be off-the-record so that participants could speak candidly, although I would be free to talk to speakers afterward to offer comments for the record. Father Oubre then told me, “You’ll probably be getting some more calls like this.”

Technically, it wasn’t a call, but I did receive an email a couple of days later from Ian Mitchell, the Catholic social teaching education coordinator for the U.S. bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. Also off-the-record would be the issue briefings and the state captains’ meetings on the first full day of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, but all of the strategy sessions on the gathering’s last day (which, I presume, included the Our Father that kicked off one of those strategy sessions) (oops).

No matter. Many speakers were happy to release their comments for on-the-record status, and follow-up interviews proved beneficial.

But I can remember one time when a speaker may have wished for an off-the-record proviso.

It was 2003. George W. Bush, a self-styled “compassionate conservative,” was in the White House. Republicans had strengthened their hold on the House and had regained the Senate — the first time that had happened since before Franklin D. Roosevelt — and they weren’t necessarily feeling as compassionate as the president. Moreover, Americans were half-anticipating, half-dreading going to war in Iraq.

It was in this atmosphere that Nancy Wisdo, now retired but at that time the head of the U.S. bishops’ domestic polify office, was outlining for Catholic Social Ministry Gathering participants methods of winning congressional support for more tax relief for low-income families. She said that going into the fine points of a tax-relief formula would only divert attention from the bishops’ broader agenda.

“We don’t have to understand. All we have to do is win. That’s our motto,” Wisdo said.

Perhaps a week after the gathering, Wisdo accosted me in the cafeteria at the U.S. bishops’ headquarters to ask why I had included that quote in my article. I replied that it was illustrative of the frustrations people were feeling in the political climate. I don’t think she entirely bought into my reasoning, but it seemed like she understood.

Cardinal-designate Dolan’s address to Pope Benedict and the College of Cardinals

Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York is in Rome for a Feb. 18 consistory at which he will be made a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. (CNS photo/Reuters)

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan has a great sense of humor so it came as no surprise to see his talk to Pope Benedict and the College of Cardinals this morning peppered with witticism and funny anecdotes.

His charm was so contagious he even made Pope Benedict laugh.

One cardinal told us the bit that tickled the pope the most was at the end when the archbishop of New York apologized for having to give his talk in Italian:

“Thank you, Holy Father and brethren, for your patience with my primitive Italian. When Cardinal Bertone asked me to give this address in Italian, I worried, because I speak Italian like a child.

But, then I recalled, that, as a newly-ordained parish priest, my first pastor said to me as I went over to school to teach the six-year old children their catechism, “Now we’ll see if all your theology sunk in, and if you can speak of the faith like a child.” And maybe that’s a fitting place to conclude: we need to speak again as a child the eternal truth, beauty, and simplicity of Jesus and His Church.”

Enjoy the full text of the soon-to-be Cardinal Dolan’s introduction during the cardinals’ “Day of Reflection and Prayer.”

The Announcement of the Gospel Today, Between missio ad gentes and the New Evangelization

Holy Father, Cardinal Sodano, my brothers in Christ:
Sia lodato Gesu Cristo!

It is as old as the final mandate of Jesus, “Go, teach all nations!,” yet as fresh as God’s Holy Word proclaimed at our own Mass this morning.

I speak of the sacred duty of evangelization. It is “ever ancient, ever new.” The how of it, the when of it, the where of it, may change, but the charge remains constant, as does the message and inspiration, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

We gather in the caput mundi, evangelized by Peter and Paul themselves, in the city from where the successors of St. Peter “sent out” evangelizers to present the saving Person, message, and invitation that is at the heart of evangelization: throughout Europe, to the “new world” in the “era of discovery,” to Africa and Asia in recent centuries. Continue reading

New cardinals not all from U.S. (thank God!)

Confession time: We Americans often are accused — and rightly so — of looking primarily at the U.S. angle to a worldwide story and forgetting to see the broader picture. And so it is with this weekend’s creation of 22 new cardinals for the worldwide church. We’re all focused here on the two Americans — Cardinals-designate Timothy M. Dolan and Edwin F. O’Brien — getting red hats from Pope Benedict XVI this Saturday. How many of us can name one of the remaining 20?

Cardinal-designate Collins (CNS/Paul Haring)

Canada, though, is certainly proud of its new entry into the College of Cardinals, Cardinal-designate Thomas C. Collins of Toronto, who will become the 16th Canadian to wear red.

Our colleagues in the Canadian Catholic press are celebrating his elevation with special sections and interviews. Here, for instance, is the launchpad for coverage of the cardinal-designate by The Catholic Register in Toronto. Included is the ability to browse the paper’s 44-page special section on the cardinal.

Our friends at Salt + Light, Canada’s premier Catholic media ministry,  also are celebrating the event with a special series of telecasts from Rome called “The Making of a Cardinal.” The first and second parts are embedded below,  and you can go to Salt + Light’s YouTube channel for the rest as they’re produced.

(Our Rome bureau also interviewed Cardinal-designate Collins on the significance of the red that a cardinal wears; you can watch that here.)

Valentine’s Day in China

Happy Valentine’s Day! Many Chinese are adopting Western  cultural practices, and that includes Valentine’s Day. On the blog at UCA News, an Asian church news agency, writer Teresa Wang looks at how young people especially are celebrating Valentine’s Day, and she offers to alternative dates to celebrate love.

Video excerpts: Interview with USCCB president on contraceptive mandate

Tonight in Rome we interviewed Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, about the bishops’ renewed opposition to the revised contraception mandate for health insurance announced last Friday by President Obama. You can read our story here or watch excerpts of our interview below. The New York archbishop arrived in Rome yesterday for activities leading up to Saturday’s consistory where he will be made a cardinal.