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Pope creates 21 new cardinals, calls on College of Cardinals to ‘resemble a symphony orchestra’

September 30, 2023

Pope Francis created 21 new cardinals on September 30 during a ceremony in St. Peter’s Square (booklet, video).

During his homily, the Pope linked the geographic diversity of the new cardinals to the geographic diversity of those who were baptized on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11) and called on the prelates to “rediscover with amazement the gift of having received the Gospel ‘in our own tongues.’“

Pope Francis asked the cardinals to “think back with gratitude on the gift of having been evangelized and having been drawn from various peoples who, each in their own time received the Kerygma, the proclamation of the mystery of salvation, and in welcoming it, were baptized in the Holy Spirit and became part of the Church.” The Pope continued:

There, in the history of our people, I would say in the “flesh” of our people, the Holy Spirit has worked the wonder of communicating the mystery of Jesus Christ who died and rose again. And this came to us “in our language”, from the lips and the gestures of our grandparents and our parents, of catechists, priests, and religious ... Indeed, we are evangelizers to the extent we cherish in our hearts the wonder and gratitude of having been evangelized, even of being evangelized, because this is really a gift always present, that must be continually renewed in our memories and in faith. Evangelizers who have been evangelized, not functionaries.

Pope Francis then called upon the College of Cardinals to “resemble a symphony orchestra, representing the harmony and synodality of the Church.”

“A symphony thrives on the skillful composition of the timbres of different instruments: each one makes its contribution, sometimes alone, sometimes united with someone else, sometimes with the whole ensemble,” he explained. “Diversity is necessary; it is indispensable. However, each sound must contribute to the common design. This is why mutual listening is essential: each musician must listen to the others.”

“I propose this especially to you, members of the College of Cardinals, in the consoling confidence that we have the Holy Spirit—he is the protagonist—as our master: the interior master of each one of us and the master of walking together,” the Pontiff concluded. “He creates variety and unity; He is harmony itself. Saint Basil was looking for a synthesis when he said: ‘Ipse harmonia est,’ he is harmony itself. We entrust ourselves to his gentle and strong guidance, and to the gracious care of the Virgin Mary.”

With the creation of the 21 new cardinals, there are now 242 members of the College of Cardinals, 137 of whom are under 80 and eligible to vote in a papal election.


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