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Papal Homily at the Consistory

11/28/2007 - 06:46 PST

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"The Lord Asks of You and Gives to You the Service of Love"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the homily that Benedict XVI gave during Saturday’s ordinary public consistory in which he elevated 23 new cardinals.

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Lord Cardinals,
Venerable Brothers of the Episcopate and Priesthood,
Dear brothers and sisters!

Today -- in this Vatican basilica, heart of the Christian world -- is renewed a significant and solemn ecclesial event: the ordinary public consistory for the creation of 23 new cardinals with the imposition of the biretta and the conferral of the title. It is an event that every time awakens a special emotion, and not only in those who with these rites are admitted to the College of Cardinals, but in the whole Church, joyful over this eloquent sign of Catholic unity.

The ceremony itself in its structure discloses the value of the task that the new cardinals are called to perform, closely cooperating with the Successor of Peter, and it invites the people of God to pray that in their service, these brothers of ours always remain faithful to Christ, even unto the sacrifice of life if it is necessary, and let themselves be guided by his Gospel. For this we gather around them with faith and raise up to God, first of all, our prayerful thanksgiving.

In this climate of joy and intense spirituality I offer with affection my greeting to each one of you, brothers, who from this day forward are members of the College of Cardinals, chosen to be, according to an ancient institution, the closest counselors and co-workers of the Successor of Peter in guiding the Church.

I greet and thank Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, who, in your name addressed courteous and devout sentiments to me, emphasizing at the same time the significance and importance of the ecclesial event we are experiencing. I desire, furthermore, to address a dutiful thought to Bishop Ignacy Jez, whom we mourn, whom the God of every grace called to himself, just before his nomination, to offer him a very different crown: that of the glory of Christ. My cordial greeting then goes to the lord cardinals who are present and also to those who were not able to be with us physically, but who are spiritually united with us. The celebration of the consistory is always a providential occasion to offer “urbi et orbi” -- to the city of Rome and to the whole world -- witness to that singular unity that binds the cardinals to the Pope, Bishop of Rome. In such solemn circumstances it is also dear to me to address a respectful and deferential greeting to government representatives and leaders who have gathered here from every part of the world, and to the relatives, friends, priests, religious, and faithful of the particular local Churches from which the new cardinals come. Finally, I greet all those who have come here to pay their respects to the new cardinals and to express in festive joy their esteem and affection for them.

With today’s celebration, you, dear brothers, are with full rights inserted into the venerable Church of Rome, whose shepherd is the Successor of Peter. Thus in the College of Cardinals is revived the ancient “presbyterium” of the Bishop of Rome, whose members, while they carried out their pastoral and liturgical functions in the various churches, did not neglect their precious work in the fulfillment of those tasks connected with assisting the Pope in his universal apostolic office. The times have changed and today the great family of Christ’s disciples is spread across every continent to the most remote corners of the earth. It speaks nearly all the languages of the world and to it belong people of every culture. The diversity of the College of Cardinals, which is accounted for by geographical and cultural provenance, manifests this providential growth and at the same time demonstrates the changed pastoral needs to which the Pope must respond. Because of this, the universality, the catholicity, of the Church, is well reflected in the composition of the College of Cardinals: Many are pastors of diocesan communities, others are in direct service of the Apostolic See, and others have rendered meritorious service in specific pastoral sectors.

Each one of you, dear and venerable newly created cardinals, therefore represents a portion of the articulated Mystical Body of Christ that is the Church everywhere diffused. I know what effort and sacrifice is necessary today for the care of souls, but I know the generosity that sustains your daily apostolic activity. For this reason, in the circumstances in which we live, it is dear to me to confirm to you my sincere appreciation of the service you have faithfully given in many years of work in different spheres of ecclesial ministry, service which now, with this elevation to the cardinalate, you are called to accomplish with greater responsibility, in the closest ...

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