By CAROL GLATZ
Becoming a member of the large and unique body of the College of Cardinals is both a great honor and an invitation to help promote a renewal of the evangelizing mission of the Catholic Church, some new cardinals have said.
With 20 newly created cardinals representing 16 countries, and with the entire college of 226 members representing more than 90 countries, some have also said they see their elevation as a way to help their home dioceses better understand the universality of the Catholic Church.
Several hours before the ceremony to create new cardinals at the Vatican on August 27, a handful of Pope Francis appointees spoke to the Catholic News Service about how they view their new role as cardinal.
U.S. Cardinal Robert W. McElroy of San Diego said it gave him a chance to “build unity within the universal Church” and emphasize the global nature of the Church, “that we are not just parish and local churches, but we are part of a worldwide communion.
When asked why he thought Pope Francis wanted the bishop of San Diego to become a cardinal, he replied, on the one hand, “we are a border diocese. Basically, our identity is a diocese of immigrants and on the border between Latin America and the United States, and these are issues that are very dear to the pope.
On the other hand, he said, it may also be because the diocese has been working for a long time to “sow some of the seeds of pastoral renewal that Pope Francis has brought into the life of the Church”.
For example, Cardinal McElroy said, the diocese has already held synods on marriage and family life, and on young adults; now he is leading a three-year process on synodality.
“There is a great emphasis on inclusion and understanding the work of the Church as a field hospital” that everyone “is hurt in various ways, everyone needs healing”. This image does not divide people into different groups, he said; instead, “it’s a journey in which we help each other and help each other heal with God’s grace.”
The cardinal said it would be wrong to believe that a pastoral approach of inclusion and a position of doctrinal rigor are opposed.
“Inclusion is part of Catholic doctrine” and part of the Gospel, he said. “This focus on reaching people on the margins is not something people just invented after the Second Vatican Council. It’s in the calling of Christ, it’s in the ongoing work of the Church and the message of the Church.
English Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, told CNS it was “unexpected” and “a huge honour” to be named cardinal.
Part of a cardinal’s role is to help advise the pope, he said. Working in the Roman Curia over the past 10 years has given him “a very special insight into the work of the Church,” which will be very important in providing the pope with a broader vision, he said.
With his work in the dicastery, first as secretary and then as prefect, “I have met all the episcopal conferences in the world, and you are beginning to get an idea of what is important, what is problematic, where… there is a need for more assistance from us to the bishops,” he said.
The new cardinals who also work in the curia “will bring a different perspective, I think, which will be important,” Cardinal Roche said.
Another prefect, South Korean Cardinal Lazarus You Heung-sik of the Dicastery for the Clergy, said he was not worthy of the elevation, but he said he thought it was an invitation to him “to love more” and to increase this love specifically for the pope. , the Church, priests and laity.
Cardinal Leonardo Ulrich Steiner of Manaus, Brazil, said his elevation is a sign of Pope Francis’ tender concern for the Amazon and that he wants the “dreams” and guidance he laid down at the of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon become a reality.
The cardinal said small, tight-knit communities in the Amazon are already experiencing the type of synodality and “fraternal relationships” the pope has indicated for the entire Church.
Laity, priests and bishops have various gatherings, “and this synodal spirit is very present. I hope I can help in that direction,” he said.
The youngest new cardinal, Italian Cardinal Giorgio Marengo, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, told CNS that while he plans to learn from the more experienced members, he would like to share his perspective of serving a small Catholic minority.
There is a “strength and authenticity of faith” among men and women who are Catholic in parts of the world where the majority are Buddhist or follow another religious tradition, he said.
“This means that you are always asked to be able to respond, to give the reasons for your faith. If you are in a country where being Catholic is normal, maybe you are not so challenged,” he said.
“Christians in Asia and, in our case, in Mongolia, generally develop a very deep sense of being able to explain, of giving reason to their own choice, and I believe that in today’s world it is necessary .”