Catholic World News

Pope creates 17 cardinals, warns against ‘virus of polarization’

November 21, 2016

Pope Francis created 17 new cardinals during a November 19 consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica, raising the membership of the College of Cardinals to 228, of whom 121 are eligible to vote in a papal election.

During his homily, Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s Sermon on the Plain (Lk. 6:27-36), which culminates in the call to “be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

“He tells us: love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you,” the Pope preached. “My enemy is someone I must love.”

“In God’s heart there are no enemies,” the Pope continued. “God only has sons and daughters. We are the ones who raise walls, build barriers and label people.”

He added:

We live at a time in which polarization and exclusion are burgeoning and considered the only way to resolve conflicts. We see, for example, how quickly those among us with the status of a stranger, an immigrant, or a refugee, become a threat, take on the status of an enemy …

The virus of polarization and animosity permeates our way of thinking, feeling and acting. We are not immune from this and we need to take care lest such attitudes find a place in our hearts, because this would be contrary to the richness and universality of the Church, which is tangibly evident in the College of Cardinals.

Thirteen of the 17 new cardinals are under 80 and eligible to vote in a papal election:

  • Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, 70
  • Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, C.S.Sp., Archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic, 49
  • Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid, 71
  • Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha, Archbishop of Brasília, 57
  • Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, 67
  • Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, C.S.C., Archbishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh, 73
  • Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Mérida, Venezuela, 72
  • Cardinal Josef De Kesel, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel, Belgium, 69
  • Cardinal Maurice Piat, C.S.Sp., Bishop of Port-Louis, Mauritius, 75
  • Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery of Laity, Family and Life, 69
  • Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, Archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, 66
  • Cardinal John Ribat, M.S.C., Archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 59
  • Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.SS.R., Archbishop of Newark, 64

The other four new cardinals, honored for their service to the Church, are 80 or over.

  • Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez, Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 84
  • Cardinal Renato Corti, Bishop Emeritus of Novara, Italy, 80
  • Cardinal Sebastian Koto Khoarai, O.M.I., Bishop Emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho, 87 (unable to attend the consistory for reasons of health)
  • Cardinal Ernest Simoni, Priest of Shkodrë-Pult, Albania, 88


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