Two new Salesian Cardinals

“Dear new Cardinals, this is the way of the Church – not only to welcome and accommodate those who knock on our door, but to go out with evangelical courage, without prejudice and without fear, and search for those who are far away.” With these words during the Mass at which he presided yesterday, Pope Francis reminded the twenty new Cardinals created by him on Saturday of the Church’s mission. Among the new cardinals there are two Salesians, Archbishop Daniel Sturla of Montevideo, Uruguay and Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar.

During the Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of the new cardinals on the afternoon of Saturday 14 February, Pope Francis said. “The cardinalate is certainly an honour, but it is not honorific. This we already know from its name – “cardinal” – from the word “cardo”, a hinge. As such it is not a kind of accessory, a decoration, like an honorary title. Rather, it is a pivot, a point of support and movement essential for the life of the community.”

Those were the opening words of his homily. He then proceeded with an analysis of the well known Hymn to Charity of St. Paul. This was followed by the rite of creation of the new cardinals, their profession of faith and their oath of loyalty and obedience to the Pope and his successors.

In an interview with the News Agency Zenit, the new Salesian Cardinal Berhouet Sturla said that he considers the Cardinalate an award for “the good things done by the Uruguayan Church” and “for the Uruguayan people” rather than a title to his credit – remarks very much in tune with the Pope’s message.

In Uruguay, the Church is struggling with the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics in Latin America. In the same interview, Cardinal Sturlasaid: “The Catholic Church has launched a program for the proclamation of the faith. The results have been good in terms of commitment to the poor and social concerns. (…) Another major challenge is that of vocations to the religious life, the priesthood, and laity committedto the life of the Church. My desire is to bring the Church everywhere, calling for a strong missionary evangelization in a secular environment in a pluralistic society.”

In a report, also with Zenit, Cardinal Bo said “With the good will of the government and of all the people of Myanmar, we can arrive at reconciliation among all ethnic groups, leading to peace and to full development.” Cardinal Bo is the first to be made Cardinal in the history of his country which has a strong Buddhist tradition. He sees the Bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco as a good opportunity to revive the Church’s involvement in Myanmar, especially by laying emphasis on the education of young people. “The example of Don Bosco’s work for the young, with his preventive system based on kindness and tenderness, is very relevant at the present time and should be revived and strengthened.”

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First published by InfoANS