Celebrating church’s universality, pope creates 6 new cardinals
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Recalling that Christ’s mission transcends “all ethnic, national and religious particularities,” Pope Benedict XVI created six new cardinals from four different continents, representing the Latin rite of the Catholic Church as well as two Eastern Catholic Churches.
The churchmen who joined the College of Cardinals Nov. 24 were U.S. Archbishop James M. Harvey, 63, former prefect of the papal household; Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai, 72; Indian Archbishop Baselio Cleemis Thottunkal, 53, head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church; Nigerian Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan , 68, of Abuja; Colombian Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, 70, of Bogota; and Philippine Archbishop Luis Tagle, 55, of Manila.
“I want to highlight in particular the fact that the church is the church of all peoples, so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents,” the pope said during the hour-long service in St. Peter’s Basilica. “Amid the polyphony of the various voices, she raises a single harmonious song to the living God.”
The six new cardinals later stepped up to the pope, who was seated before the basilica’s main altar, to receive symbols of their office: a ring, the “zucchetto” skull cap and the three-cornered hat called a biretta. The headwear was colored scarlet, like the cardinals’ robes, to symbolize the blood they risk shedding in service to the church.
The new Eastern Catholic cardinals received modified versions of the biretta, consistent with the distinctive clerical garb of their churches. Cardinal Rai received the turban-like Maronite tabieh, and Cardinal Cleemis a head covering in a shape reminiscent of an onion dome.