Monday, November 26, 2012

Six new cardinals: various birettes, tears and African cheers in St. Peter's Basilica

November 24, 2012. ( The Consistory at St. Peter's Basilica to create six new cardinals lasted less than an hour. But the ceremony was full of emotions and several exotic touches.

The event was smaller than previous consistories under Benedict XVI, with the creation of six new cardinals. In the past, the smallest group he had created was 15. However, this Consistory was perhaps one of the most diverse, spanning three separate rites.

From the Latin rite, the Pope created cardinals Colombian Ruben Salazar Gomez, American James Michael Harvey, Nigerian John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, and Filipino Luis Antonio Tagle. From the Syro-Malankara rite, he created Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, from India as cardinal. And the Maronite rite is represented by its Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, from Lebanon.

“In this Consistory, I want to highlight in particular the fact that the Church is the Church of all peoples, and so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents. She is the Church of Pentecost: amid the polyphony of the various voices, she raises a single harmonious song to the living God”.

Diversity also broke through tradition when it comes to the cardinals attire. The Pope used three separate birettas, according to each prelate's rite. Benedict XVI explained that diversity reinforces unity within the Church.

“The new Cardinals, who represent different dioceses around the world, are henceforth associated by a special title with the Church of Rome, and in this way they reinforce the spiritual bonds that unite the whole Church, brought to life by Christ and gathered around the Successor of Peter”.

An emotional moment developed when Luis Antonio Tagle from Manila became tearful, after Benedict XVI made him cardinal.

The Pope himself was cheerful and smiled throughout a ceremony often interrupted by applause, and even traditional Nigerian cheers.

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