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Credible leadership serves others pope tells cardinals at consistory

VATICAN CITY (CNS): “None of us must feel ‘superior’ to anyone. None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up,” Pope Francis told new and old cardinals during a ceremony in which he elevated 14 bishops and archbishops from 11 different nations to the College of Cardinals on June 28.
The ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica began with Pope Francis, wearing a miter and carrying the pastoral staff of retired Pope Benedict XVI, leading a procession of the soon-to-be cardinals in their new red robes.
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad, gave thanks on behalf of all the new cardinals who have been “called to serve the Church and all people with an even greater love.”
The 69-year-old patriarch, whose country has lost an estimated one million of what had been 1.5 million Christians over the years of war, violence by extremist militants and economic insecurity, thanked the pope for his special attention to the plight and struggle of “the tiny flock” of Christians throughout the Middle East.
“We pray and hope that your efforts to promote peace will change the hearts of men and women for the better” and help the world become a more dignified place for all people, the patriarch said.
The pope told the cardinals in his homily that their mission is to remember to stay focused on Christ, who always ministered and led the way, unperturbed by his disciples’ infighting, jealousies, failings and compromises.
On the road to Jerusalem, as the disciples were locked in “useless and petty discussions,” Jesus walks ahead yet tells them forcefully, when it comes to lording it over others, “it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”
What good is it, the pope asked, to “gain the whole world if we are corroded within” or “living in a stifling atmosphere of intrigues that dry up our hearts and impede our mission,” including those “palace intrigues” in curial offices.
“But it shall not be so among you,” the Lord says, because their eyes, heart and resources must be dedicated “to the only thing that counts: the mission,” the pope said.
He said personal conversion and Church reform are always missionary and demands that looking out for and protecting one’s own interests be stopped, so that looking out for and protecting what God cares about remains the priority.
Letting go of sins and selfishness means “growing in fidelity and willingness to embrace the mission” so that “when we see the distress of our brothers and sisters, we will be completely prepared to accompany and embrace them” instead of being “roadblocks ... because of our short-sightedness or our useless wrangling about who is most important,” the pope said.
“The Church’s authority grows with this ability to defend the dignity of others, to anoint them and to heal their wounds and their frequently dashed hopes. It means remembering that we are here because we have been asked ‘to preach good news to the poor ... to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,” he said.
“Dear brother cardinals and new cardinals,” Pope Francis said, the “Lord walks ahead of us, to keep reminding us that the only credible form of authority is born of sitting at the feet of others in order to serve Christ.”
“This is the highest honor that we can receive, the greatest promotion that can be awarded us: to serve Christ in God’s faithful people. In those who are hungry, neglected, imprisoned, sick, suffering, addicted to drugs, cast aside,” he said.
After the consistory, Pope Francis and the new cardinals visited retired Pope Benedict in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, his residence in the Vatican Gardens.
With the new members, the College of Cardinals numbered 226, with 125 of them under 80-years-old and eligible to vote in a conclave. With this consistory, Pope Francis has created almost half of the voting cardinals.
The new cardinals come from Iraq, Spain, Italy, Poland, Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Japan, Mexico and Bolivia and the current College of Cardinals now represents six continents and 88 countries.
The 14 cardinals who received their red hats from the pope were 
Louis Cardinal Sako of Baghdad; Luis Cardinal Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Angelo Cardinal De Donatis, papal vicar for the Diocese of Rome; Giovanni Angelo Cardinal Becciu, substitute secretary of state, prefect-designate of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes; Konrad Cardinal Krajewski, the papal almoner; Joseph Cardinal Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan; Antonio Cardinal dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, Portugal; Pedro Cardinal Barreto of Huancayo, Peru; Desire Cardinal Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar; Giuseppe Cardinal Petrocchi of L’Aquila, Italy; Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda of Osaka, Japan; Sergio Obeso Cardinal Rivera, retired archbishop of Xalapa, Mexico; Toribio Ticona Cardinal Porco, retired bishop of Corocoro, Bolivia; Aquilino Bocos Cardinal Merino, former superior general of the Claretian religious order. 

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