On Thursday Pope Benedict presided in St Peter's Square at his first Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of 15 new Cardinals. On Friday the Cardinlas were officially installed. At the Consistory on Thursday, the first of the Cardinals William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, expressed gratitude and best wishes to the Pope on behalf of the other fourteen new cardinals. "The Ordinary Public Consistory is an event that manifests most eloquently the universal nature of the Church, which has spread to every corner of the world in order to proclaim to all people the Good News of Christ our Saviour," Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily . Addressing the new cardinals the Pope said: "Total and generous availability to serve others is the distinctive mark of those in positions of authority in the Church, because it was thus for the Son of Man, who came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mk 10:45). Although he was God, or one might even say driven by his divinity, he assumed the form of a servant - "formam servi" - as is wonderfully expressed in the hymn to Christ contained in the Letter to the Philippians (cf. 2:6-7)". "Yes, venerable and dear Brothers, these words of the Prince of the Apostles apply particularly to those who are called to wear the scarlet of a cardinal: "I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed" (1 Pet 5:1). "May the scarlet that you now wear always express the caritas Christi, inspiring you to a passionate love for Christ, for his Church and for all humanity. You now have an additional motive to seek to rekindle in yourselves those same sentiments that led the incarnate Son of God to pour out his blood in atonement for the sins of the whole world. I am counting on you, venerable Brothers, I am counting on the entire College into which you are being incorporated, to proclaim to the world that "Deus caritas est," the Pope concluded. On Friday, Pope Benedict elevated the 15 men to join the College of Cardinals. During the ceremony, held on the steps of St Peter's Basilica, the Pope included a prayer for religious freedom in China, where the Vatican says Catholics loyal to the Pope are not allowed to practice their faith openly. Benedict, less than a month away from his first anniversary as Pope, gave each of the men their red cardinal's hats and urged them in a homily to preach a message of love and spread the faith. "I am counting on you to see to it that the Church's solicitude for the poor and needy challenges the world with a powerful statement on the civilisation of love," he said. Handing each man his four-cornered biretta hat, he recalled they were coloured red to signify a cardinal's commitment to spread and defend the faith even if it meant spilling his blood. Twelve of the 15 new cardinals are under 80 and thus eligible to enter a conclave to choose a Pope. They are mostly from Europe, Asia and the United States. Krakow Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, 66, was the best-known face, having been at the late Pope John Paul's side during 26 years as his faithful private secretary and one of the most influential men in the Vatican. Dziwisz received the biggest round of applause and even the Pope seemed filled with emotion when he embraced Dziwisz, who remains a living symbol of the pontificate that ended a year ago. The most influential was William Levada, 69, the former archbishop of San Francisco, appointed by Benedict last May to replace him as head of the Vatican's powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The biggest surprise of the new cardinals, whose names were first announced last month, was the elevation of Hong Kong's Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun. Zen is an outspoken supporter of democracy and critic of Beijing's restrictive religious policies, which do not allow Chinese Catholics to recognise the Pope's authority. The new Cardinals are: Cardinal William Joseph Levada; Archbishop Franc Rode; Cardinal Agostino Vallini; Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino; Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales; Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard; Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera; Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk; Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley; Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz; Cardinal Carlo Caffarra; Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun; Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo; Cardinal Peter Poreku Dery, and Cardinal Albert Vanhoye.
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