Sunday, February 19, 2012


Vatican City (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday brought 22 Catholic churchmen into the elite College of Cardinals who will elect his successor, cementing the Italian majority in a future conclave but also giving New York’s garrulous archbishop a position of prominence. Cardinal Timothy Dolan emerged as something of the star of the consistory, delivering a highly praised speech on spreading the faith and mentioned in some Italian media as an improbable “papabile,” or having the qualities of a future pope. Traditionally Americans are ruled out as papal contenders, with the argument that the world doesn’t need a superpower pope. But Dolan’s joyful demeanor seemed to have struck a chord in a Vatican that has been anything but joyful over a rash of news reports about political infighting and financial mismanagement. “He certainly is going to be given many responsibilities as a cardinal,” said the other American who got a red hat Saturday, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the outgoing archbishop of Baltimore.

Dolan artfully dodged the question when asked about the speculation Saturday by a gaggle of reporters who traveled from the U.S. for the ceremony: “Io non parlo inglese,” he said. (“I don’t speak English.”)  In all, 22 churchmen got their red hats Saturday, including the archbishops of Prague, Toronto, Florence, Utrecht and Hong Kong as well as the heads of several Vatican offices. Seven of the 22 were Italian, adding to the eight voting-age Italian cardinals named at the last consistory in November 2010. As of Saturday, Italy will have 30 cardinals out of the 125 under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a future conclave.  “The new cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for his church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters even unto shedding their blood, if necessary,” the Pope said. Benedict, who turns 85 in April, was wheeled into St. Peter’s Basilica aboard the moving platform he has been using for several months to spare him the long walk down the center aisle.

PPope Benedict XVI has elevated 22 Bishops to Cardinal. They will be among his closest advisors and be numbered among those who will elect his successor.  He told them to base their actions and decisions on the bedrock of their faith as they exercise greater responsibility and power. “Everything in the Church rests upon faith: the sacraments, the liturgy, evangelization, charity,” Benedict said.  As much as sraddha (the faith) in guru (master) and God is increased, a disciple can advance quicker.

Sraddha, faith, is the most subtle thing, and it is also the most tangible. It is not imaginary. We must realize that it is reality, it is concrete, and not merely an abstract sentiment of mere individual consciousness. Faith is universal as the most fundamental element that can connect us with the finest objective. Through electricity or radio we can establish communication over a long distance. But faith is much more subtle, and through it one can establish both higher contact and reciprocation. Subtle faith is not approachable by anyone and everyone; it has its tangible existence and it may function in any circumstance if we have its peculiar contact. We cannot give false statements that we possess it; our power and grandeur are not necessarily any proof of its presence in us. Despite great pomp and show, all we personify may be falsehood. We should be very cautious to maintain our contact with genuine faith.

Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
“Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion”
Volume One - Chapter Three – “The Success of Faith”

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