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Paul VI Hall
Monday, 26 November 2012



Your Eminences,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Friends,

Today, with our minds full of gratitude to the Lord, let us prolong the sentiments and emotions we experienced yesterday and the day before yesterday on the occasion of the creation of six new Cardinals. They were moments of intense prayer and of deep communion, experienced in the awareness of an event that concerns the universal Church, called to be a sign of hope for all peoples. I am therefore glad to welcome you today too, at this simple family meeting and to address my cordial greeting to the new Cardinals and likewise to their relatives, to their friends and to all who have accompanied them on this most solemn and important occasion.

I extend a cordial greeting to the English-speaking Prelates whom I had the joy of raising to the dignity of Cardinal in last Saturday’s Consistory: Cardinal James Michael Harvey, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St Paul’s Outside-the-Walls; Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum for Syro-Malankaras, India; Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria; and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, the Philippines. I also welcome their family members and friends, and all the faithful who accompany them here today.

The College of Cardinals, whose origin is linked to the ancient clergy of the Roman Church, is charged with electing the Successor of Peter and advising him in matters of greater importance. Whether in the offices of the Roman Curia or in their ministry in the local Churches throughout the world, the Cardinals are called to share in a special way in the Pope’s solicitude for the universal Church. The vivid colour of their robes has traditionally been seen as a sign of their commitment to defending Christ’s flock even to the shedding of their blood. As the new Cardinals assume the burden of office, I am confident that they will be supported by your prayers and assistance as they strive with the Roman Pontiff to promote throughout the world the holiness, communion and peace of the Church.

I cordially greet the French-speaking Cardinals, and especially the Lebanese, in the happy memory of my recent Apostolic Visit to their country. I went there in particular to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente. By creating Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï a Cardinal I wish to give special encouragement to the life and presence of Christians in the Middle East, where they must be able to live their faith freely, and at the same time to launch a pressing appeal for peace in the region. The Church encourages every effort with a view to peace in the world and the Middle East, a peace which will only be effective if it is based on genuine respect for the other. May the Season of Advent, which is at our door, enable us to rediscover the greatness of Christ, true man and true God, who came into the world to save all people and to bring peace and reconciliation! I wish you all a fruitful pilgrimage!

I greet with deep affection Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bogotá and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, and the relatives, bishops, priests, religious and lay people who have accompanied him and who share in his deep and spiritual joy at becoming a member of the College of Cardinals. I ask you all to raise fervent prayers for the new Cardinal that he may be increasingly united to the Successor of Peter and collaborate tirelessly with the Apostolic See. Let us also ask God to help him with his gifts, so that he may continue to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel of salvation, explaining its content with rectitude and faithfulness and bringing to all the redeeming strength of Christ. May Mary Most Holy, who in these noble regions is invoked under the sweet name of Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Chiquinquirá [Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá], always support him with her motherly love, as well as all the beloved sons and daughters of Colombia, whom I keep very present in my heart and in my prayers, that they may advance in peace and harmony on the paths of justice, reconciliation and solidarity.

Dear and Venerable Brothers who have become members of the College of Cardinals! Your ministry is enriched by a new commitment in supporting the Successor of Peter in his universal service to the Church. Therefore, as I renew to each one of you my most cordial good wishes, I trust in the support of your prayers and in your precious help. May you continue confident and strong in your spiritual and apostolic mission, keeping your gaze fixed on Christ and strengthening your love for his Church. Moreover we can learn this love from the saints, who are the most complete realization of the Church: they loved her and, letting themselves be moulded by Christ, they spent their whole life to ensure that men and women might be illuminated by the light of Christ that shines out from the Church’s face (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, n. 1). I invoke upon you and upon those present the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, and I warmly impart to you and to all those present a special Apostolic Blessing.


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