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30 June 1979


1. The word of God has now spoken to us with its power, which is suitable for the moment we are living. While these our venerable and dear Brothers in the Episcopate, whose names are already known to the Church and to the world, are about to receive the sign of cardinalatial dignity, it is necessary that the meaning of this dignity should become crystal-clear for them and for us in the light of the words of God himself. And thus, listening with gratitude to these words taken from the First Letter of Saint Peter and from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, we meditate for an instant on what the Lord wishes to express through them in this important and unusual moment.

2. Above all, through the words of the Apostle, the Lord manifests pastoral-care for the Church, that is, for the flock. These words are truly marvellous! In them is fully opened up the soul of him to whom was given, "as a witness of the sufferings of Christ", the task of becoming the first shepherd of the flock. In his pastoral care for the Church, Peter has Christ continually before his eyes—Christ, who was revealed as the Good Shepherd giving his own life for his sheep, and who, as the chief Shepherd, will be revealed in that "glory of the Father" (cf. Jn 17:24) to which he leads us all. Fixing his gaze on him, on Christ, the Apostle Peter—an "Elder", the Bishop of Rome—shares in turn his pastoral care with others, teaching them and, at the same time, asking how they must, together with him, conduct themselves as "elders and superiors". A particular reference to their personal example, to their selfless dedication and to their creative zeal. To be a shepherd of the flock means to be vigilant, so that a wild animal will not enter the flock.: To be a shepherd of 'people's souls means to be vigilant, so that they will not be deceived and entrapped, and so that they will not be misled, losing their vital contact with the source of love itself and of truth. To be a shepherd of souls means, finally, to trust: to trust above all in him who by his own blood acquired over these souls a divine right.

Venerable and dear Brothers, accept today this message of the first Bishop of Rome—you who in a particular way must become sharers in the pastoral care of his unworthy successor. The more deeply we draw from the very Gospel sources of this care, the more it will become effective and blessed. The present "time" (kairós) of the Church and of the world requires us to draw with particular diligence precisely from these sources.

3. The word of God to which we have just listened contains in itself an appeal for courage and fortitude. In a significant way Christ invites us to courage and fortitude. We have heard him say repeatedly: "Do not be afraid"; "do not fear these who kill the body but cannot kill the soul" (Mt 10:28); "have no fear of men" (cf. Mt 10:26). And at the same time, side by side with these decisive appeals for courage and fortitude, there is the exhortation: "Have fear"; "rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt 10:28). These two appeals, seemingly opposed, are reciprocally so closely connected that one results from the other, one conditions the other. We are called to fortitude and at the same time to fear. We are called to fortitude before men and, at the same time, to fear before God himself; and this fear must be the fear of love, filial fear. And only when this fear penetrates into our hearts can we be truly strong with the fortitude of the Apostles, martyrs, and confessors. Strong with the fortitude of pastors. The invitation to fortitude is linked in an especially deep way with the tradition of the Cardinalate, which even through the colour of the cassock recalls the blood of martyrs.

4. Christ asks us above all to have this fortitude to confess before men, his truth and his cause, without counting whether these people will be favourable or not to this cause, whether they will open their ears and hearts to this truth, or whether they will close them so as not to be able to hear. We cannot be discouraged before any programme in which the ears and the intellect are closed. We must make our confession and proclamation in deepest obedience to the Spirit of Truth. He himself will find the ways to reach the depths of consciences and of hearts. We must rather make our confession and render witness with such strength and ability that responsibility does not fall on us for the fact that our generation has denied Christ before men. We must also be "wary as serpents, innocent as doves" (Mt 10:16).

And finally we must be humble, with that humility of interior truth that permits man to live with magnanimity. Because "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). This magnanimity, evolving from humility, evolving from cooperation with the grace of God, is a particular sign of our service in the Church.

5. Venerable and dear Brothers, here is a programme! The ample and demanding programme which the Church links to your great dignity.

Accept this programme with the same great confidence with which your predecessors in the same episcopal sees and in the same posts of the Roman Curia have accepted it! Accept it!

Look at the great, the magnificent examples they have left us.

On this new way may you be accompanied by the beloved Mother of the Church and also the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose solemnity we rejoiced yesterday. In everything may God be specially adored:  Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I wish to renew publicly, venerable and dear Brothers in the Episcopate who have been elevated to the cardinalatial dignity, my affectionate esteem and my sincere appreciation for the witness that you have given to the Church and to the world by your lives as priests and bishops completely dedicated to God and expended for souls in all the tasks entrusted to you in the course of your lives.

I likewise express my cordial and respectful greeting to the delegations from different countries, to the representatives of numerous dioceses and to the delegation sent to Rome by my beloved Brother, Patriarch Dimitrios I, and to all who have come here to form a joyful circle around the new members of the Sacred College.

The Holy Father then greeted various groups who had come for the ceremony. To the English- speaking group he said:

With great affection in our Lord Jesus Christ, I extend a word of welcome to the English-speaking individuals and delegations that have come to Rome for this Consistory. Today, in a special way, we are all experiencing together the universality of the Church. We are experiencing the strength and joy of being united in Christ, and in his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church,

At the end of the Holy Father's address, the new Cardinals took the oath of faithfulness and obedience to the Pope and his successors.

The Holy Father then assigned to the new Cardinals their respective titles:

— Agostino Casaroli, the presbyteral title of the church of the Twelve Apostles:

— Giuseppe Caprio, the diaconal church of St Mary in via Tuscolana;

— Marco Ce, the title of St Mark;

— Egano Righi-Lambertini, the diaconal church of St John Bosco in via Tuscolana;

— Joseph-Marie Trinh Van-Can, the title of St Mary in Via;

— Ernesto Civardi, the diaconal church of St Theodore;

— Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, the title of Mary Immaculate al Tiburtino;

— Joseph Asajiro Satowaki, the title of St Mary of Peace;

— Roger Etchegaray, the title of St Leo I;

— Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, the title of S. Maria sopra Minerva;

— Tomás O'Fiaich, the title of St Patrick;

—Gerald Emmet Carter, the title of St Mary in Traspontina;

— Francis Macharski, the title of St John at the Latin Gate;

— Wladyslaw Rubin, the diaconal church of St Mary in via Lata.

The Pope then exchanged the embrace of peace with each new Cardinal.

Pope John Paul II then began the recitation of the universal prayer. In conclusion, the Holy Father intoned the Pater Nosier, in which the whole assembly joined.


© Copyright 1979 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana