Credible leadership serves others, pope tells cardinals at consistory

Paul Haring | Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Defending the weak or hopeless and becoming a servant to those most in need is the best promotion one can ever receive, Pope Francis told new and old cardinals.

"None of us must feel 'superior' to anyone. None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up," he said during a ceremony in which he elevated 14 bishops and archbishops from 11 nations to the College of Cardinals June 28.

Their mission, the pope said in the homily, is to remember to stay focused on Christ, who always ministered and led the way, unperturbed by His disciples' infighting, jealousies, failings and compromises.

On the road to Jerusalem, as the disciples were locked in "useless and petty discussions," Jesus walks ahead yet tells them forcefully, when it comes to lording authority over others, "it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant."

"Dear brother cardinals and new cardinals," the pope said, the "Lord walks ahead of us, to keep reminding us that the only credible form of authority is born of sitting at the feet of others in order to serve Christ.

"This is the highest honor that we can receive, the greatest promotion that can be awarded us: to serve Christ in God's faithful people. In those who are hungry, neglected, imprisoned, sick, suffering, addicted to drugs, cast aside."

After the consistory, Pope Francis and the new cardinals visited retired Pope Benedict in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, his residence in the Vatican Gardens.

With the new members, the College of Cardinals numbered 226, with 125 of them being cardinal electors — under 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave.

With this consistory, Pope Francis has created almost half of the voting cardinals. 

The 14 new cardinals:

• Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, 69, Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad.

• Cardinal Luis Ladaria, 74, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

• Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, 64, papal vicar for the Diocese of Rome.

• Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, 70, substitute secretary of state, prefect-designate of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

• Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, 54, papal almoner.

• Cardinal Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan, 72.

• Cardinal Antonio dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, Portugal, 71.

• Cardinal Pedro Barreto of Huancayo, Peru, 74.

• Cardinal Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar, 64.

• Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi of L'Aquila, Italy, 69.

• Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda of Osaka, Japan, 69.

• Cardinal Sergio Obeso Rivera, retired archbishop of Xalapa, Mexico, 86.

• Cardinal Toribio Ticona Porco, retired bishop of Corocoro, Bolivia, 81.

• Cardinal Aquilino Bocos Merino, 80, former superior general of the Claretian religious order. 

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