Pope Francis implores new cardinals to put aside pride, jealousy, self-interests and anger:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis
welcomed 20 new cardinals Saturday into
the elite club of churchmen who will elect
his successor and immediately delivered a
tough-love message to them, telling them
to put aside their pride, jealousy and self-
interests and instead exercise perfect
Francis issued the marching orders during
the ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica to
elevate the new "princes of the church"
into the College of Cardinals and give
them their new red hats.
Retired Pope Benedict XVI was on hand for
the ceremony, sitting off to the side in the
front row of the basilica, in a unique
blending of popes past, present and
future. Francis embraced him at the start
and end of the service and a cluster of
cardinals lined up to greet him before
Many of the new cardinals hail from far-
flung, often overlooked dioceses where
Catholics are a distinct minority — a
reflection of Francis' insistence that the
church look to the peripheries and reflect
them in its governance. Several are
pastors who, like Francis, have focused
their ministries on the poor and
In his homily, Francis reminded his newest
collaborators that being a cardinal isn't a
prize or fancy entitlement, but rather a
way to serve the church better in humility
He warned them that not even churchmen
are immune from the temptation to be
jealous, angry or proud, or to pursue their
own self-interests, even when "cloaked in
"Even here, charity, and charity alone,
frees us," he said. "Above all it frees us
from the mortal danger of pent-up anger,
of that smoldering anger which makes us
brood over wrongs we have received. No.
This is unacceptable in a man of the
In some ways, his tough words were a
toned-down version of the blistering
critique he delivered right before
Christmas to Vatican bureaucrats. Then, he
ticked off 15 ailments including "spiritual
Alzheimer's" and the "terrorism of gossip,"
that can afflict men of the church even at
its highest levels.
This is Francis' second consistory creating
new cardinals and once again he looked to
the "peripheries" to give greater
geographic representation to the Europe-
centric College of Cardinals.
His choices, though, also reflect his vision
for what the church should be: One that
looks out for the poor and most
marginalized, guided by shepherds who
have what he has called the "smell" of
They include Cardinal Soane Patita Paini
Mafi of Tonga, a tiny island state in the
middle of the Pacific Ocean on the front
lines of global warming.
Another is Cardinal Francesco Montenegro
of Agrigento, Sicily, whose church — which
extends to the island of Lampedusa — has
coped with the arrival of tens of thousands
of migrants over the years.
And there's the archbishop of David,
Panama, Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza
Maestrojuan, who works with indigenous
peoples to protect them from mining
While cardinals are called on to advise the
pope, their primary job is to elect a new
one. Only those under age 80 can
participate in a conclave and with
Saturday's additions, their number stands
at 125 — five over the traditional cap,
though four of them will turn 80 this year.
The college as a whole numbers 227.