Wednesday, February 22, 2006

THE CONSISTORY: The Day of Reflection

After announcing his list of 15 new cardinals, Benedict XVI unveiled another new initiative: a "day of prayer and reflection" for the entire College, to be held on 23 March, the day before the public consistory.

Here is the Whispers translation of the Pope's words during the announcement:
The feast of the Chair of St. Peter is a particularly appropriate day to announce that, next 24 March, there will be a Consistory, in which I will appoint new members of the College of Cardinals. This announcement is opportunely made on the feast of the Chair, as the Cardinals have the task of sustaining and helping the Successor of Peter in the fulfillment of the apostolic office which has been entrusted to him for the service of the Church. Not for nothing, in ancient ecclesiastical documents, the Popes saw the College of Cardinals as "pars corporis nostri" -- "part of our body." The cardinals in fact constitute together with the Pope a sort of Senate, from which is employed the exercise of the functions connected with his ministry of "principal and perpetual foundation, visible for the unity of faith and of communion" (cf. Lumen gentium, 18).
The Pope then named the names, after which he noted that
The list of the new prelates respects well the universality of the Church: they come from different parts of the world and take on different tasks in the service of the People of God. For them I invite you to lift up to God a particular prayer to the Lord, that he may grand them the graces necessary to carry out with generosity their mission.

As I said at the outset, next 24 March will be the announced Consistory and the following day, 25 March, I will have the joy of presiding over a solemn Concelebration with the new Cardinals [that's the Mass of the Rings]. Through the said circumstance, I will invite all the Members of the College of Cardinals, with whom I'd like to also have a meeting of reflection and prayer on the preceding day, 23 March.

AP/Pier Paolo Cito