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Monday, February 20, 2012


Vatican City, 19 February 2012 (VIS) - Following this morning's concelebration of the Eucharist with the twenty-two cardinals created in Saturday's consistory, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Before the Marian prayer, the Holy Father reminded people that "this Sunday is a particularly joyful one here in the Vatican, because of yesterday's consistory in which I created twenty-two new cardinals. This morning I had the joy of concelebrating the Eucharist with them in St. Peter's Basilica, over the tomb of the Apostle whom Jesus called to be the 'rock' upon which to build His Church. I therefore invite you all to pray for these our venerable brothers, who are now more deeply committed to collaborating with me in guiding the universal Church, and to bearing witness to the Gospel even unto the sacrifice of their lives. This is the significance of their red garments: the colour of blood and of love".

Benedict XVI also recalled the fact that yesterday's consistory took place against the backdrop of the Feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter, which had been brought forward to this Sunday to ensure it did not coincide with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. The cathedra, the Pope explained, "is the seat reserved for the bishop. ... The Cathedra of St. Peter ... is the symbol of the special mission that Peter and his successors have to feed the flock of Christ and to keep it united in faith and charity. ... This particular duty devolves upon the community of Rome and its Bishop because it was in this city that the Apostles Peter and Paul spilt their blood, along with many other martyrs. Thus we return to the witness of blood and charity. The Cathedra of Peter is a sign of authority: the authority of Christ which is founded upon faith and love".

In conclusion, the Holy Father entrusted the new cardinals to the protection of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Church, that she might "help me and my collaborators to work tirelessly for the unity of the People of God, and to announce the message of salvation to all people, humbly and courageously performing the service of truth in charity".

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