Pope Francis to New Cardinals: This is Not Just an Honorary Title

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Feb 2015

This year's induction ceremony for new cardinals had some familiar moments. It began with the arrival of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The Emeritus Pope sat with the rest of Cardinals, and just like last year, Pope Francis stopped the procession to greet him.

Afterward, soon-to-be Cardinal Dominique Mamberti greeted Pope Francis on behalf of all the new cardinals present. Only one was missing,  95-year-old José de Jesús Pimiento Rodríguez , retired archbishop of Manizales, Colombia.

Prefect, Apostolic Signatura
"He has asked to receive the biretta in Colombia, because his old age prevented him from traveling."

For his part, Pope Francis told the entire College of Cardinals to remember that their position is not an honor but a responsibility.

"It is not a kind of accessory, a decoration, like an honorary title. Rather, it is a pivot, a point of support and movement essential for the life of the community."

He noted that as they gain more responsibility in the church, they should also become kinder and have bigger hearts.

"Be kind always and to everyone, especially those who do not love us. FLASH. Respect is the ability to understand others and their dignity."

He said there will be plenty of reasons to become angry, but a churchman should, above all, be magnanimous, just and merciful.

"Any form of injustice should be unacceptable, including those which might benefit the man or the Church."

Then came the highlight of the ceremony: the imposition of birretas, which was especially moving for the new cardinals.

New cardinals came from throughout the world, including: John Atcherley Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand; Alberto Suárez Inda, Archbishop of Morelia, Mexico; Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, Archbishop of Hanoi, Vietnam; and Soane Patita Paini Mafi, Bishop of Tonga.

Representatives from every country with new cardinals attended.