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New cardinals called to serve not be princes

 
VATICAN (SE): Louis-Marie Cardinal Ling Mangkhanekhoun, the apostolic vicar of Pakse in Laos, became the first cardinal from his country when Pope Francis elevated him, along with four others to the College of Cardinals at a consistory on June 28.
 
The 73-year-old Cardinal Ling is a Khamu, a hill tribe in northern Laos and southern China, and was ordained a priest in a refugee camp in 1972.
 
CNS reported him as saying that becoming a cardinal was just the next step in his life, which will continue in the same way.
 
He said a cardinal's red vestments do symbolise a willingness to suffer for the faith, but for him, red also means love.
 
Pope Francis told the five new cardinals during a Mass on the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on June 29 that they are not called to be princes of the Church, but to serve the people of God and tackle the sins of the world. 
 
The pope said that as leaders like Christ, they are there to be slaves and serve others. Jesus "calls you to serve like him and with him, to serve the Father and your brothers and sisters," the pope said.
 
Pope Francis said that the sins the cardinals must face today include: "the innocent who suffer and die as victims of war and terrorism; the forms of enslavement that continue to violate human dignity even in the age of human rights; the refugee camps, which at times seem more like a hell than a purgatory; the systematic discarding of all that is no longer useful, people included."
 
Cardinal Ling shared his own experience of persecution after Laos came under Communist rule. After he had set out - without government permission - to preach in small villages and in prisons, he was arrested and accused of making propaganda for Jesus and imprisoned for three years.
 
CNS reported him as calling his imprisonment an apostolate. "My presence (in prison) was necessary for my conversion and purification and also for that of others."
The other new cardinals include Anders Cardinal Arborelius, from Stockholm, Sweden - the county's first; Jean Cardinal Zerbo, from Bamako, Mali; Gregorio Cardinal Rosa Chávez, from San Salvador, El Salvador; and Juan Jose Cardinal Omella, from Barcelona, Spain.
 
The College of Cardinals now has 225 members, 121 of whom are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a pope.
 
Thirty-six archbishops from 26 countries, appointed over the course of the past year were also invited to come to Rome to concelebrate the Mass with Pope Francis. 
 

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