A New Role for Cardinals


In a letter to the 19 new cardinals he has named,  Pope Francis  told  the prelates,  “The Cardinalate does not signify a promotion, or an honor, or a decoration. It is simply a service that calls for enlarging one’s vision and widening one’s heart.”  Calling on them to accept the designation with humility, the Holy Father told the newly-appointed Cardinals to also “receive the appointment in the spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.”

Thus, the Franciscan reform further defines Pope Francis’ concept of ministry at all levels as servant leadership, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). This represents a radical new understanding of the cardinalate.

In addition, the appointments represent the pope’s determination to move to a broader and more collegial leadership, from the center to the periphery. Recalling his words to the superiors general of men’s religious orders, to look at something from the periphery, the pope explained, meant “analyzing reality through a variety of viewpoints, rather than filtering all experience through a centralized ideology.”

Please join me in praying that God will guide these new cardinals.

This post is also available in/Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish

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  1. Cody Serra says

    “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve”. It is a call to all of us to serve with love and humility. It becomes more difficult when one has positions of power.

  2. Lilly says

    This pope is truly a gift from God to our world! It is so inspiring to see and hear such wonderful humility preached and demonstrated as Jesus did. Our communities need our priests to guide them through, not only, their teaching, but also, by their example. It’s unfortunate that the number of parishioners greatly outnumber priests needed for each community. Further, priests appear to be so occupied with the business of the church as well as the many pastoral duties such as funerals and weddings etc…. that there seems to be little time left for them to simply sit down and enjoy community with the families of the parish. It is a longtime prayer that our priests could have time for healthy social interaction with parishioners of all ages. I often have wondered if young people could have an opportunity to have positive interactions with a member of the clergy, a priest, brother, or sister, then they might be inspired to consider the priesthood, brotherhood, or convent. Perhaps people would see themselves in such a role and realize that they are not so different from the humanity of our clergy. Each time our school has been visited by a clergy member, the students come alive and are filled with questions about their lifestyle. You would think a celebrity walked into the building!