By Joan Lewis
In my name and that of my new brother Cardinals, I think your Holiness for the trust placed in us and for having called us to serve with an ever greater love the Church and all men.
This naming of cardinals from diverse countries expresses the vitality and the opening of the Catholic Church and concretizes her catholicity – her universality – in service to all men,
A number of Muslims have come to give me their best wishes, and they expressed their admiration for the opening of the Church and for your always being close to people in their concerns, fears and hopes.
As far as I am concerned, I am the recipient of your special attention for the Eastern Churches and for the small flock at constitutes the Christians in the Middle East, in Pakistan and in other countries that are going through a difficult period because of wars and sectarianism and where there are still many martyrs. We pray and hope that your efforts to promote peace will change the hearts of men and women for the better and will contribute to assuring a dignified atmosphere for every person.
These nominations on the day of Pentecost did not come by chance. We are called to commit to announcing and expressing more deeply the faith that responds to the needs of the current time and the future, and it impels us to an ever greater service more attentive to the people of God entrusted to us and it asks us to have ever broader horizons.
Naming one to the cardinalate is not a prize or a personal honor, as is sometimes thought but rather it is sending us into mission with a red habit (indicating) that we will give our life to the very end, even to the shedding of blood, bringing “Evangelii gaudium” –the gospel of joy – to everyone.
Your paternal call for us is an encouragement in our sufferings and gives us the hope that the actual storm will pass, and it will be possible to live together harmoniously. I firmly believe in the fullness of love, right to the very end. This blood of the martyrs has not been shed for nothing, Holiness!
We assure you of our support and an even more intense collaboration in promoting a culture of dialogue, of respect and peace everywhere and in particular where there is need such as in Iraq, the land of Abraham, in Syria, in Palestine and in the Middle East and throughout the world. We are aware of the risks and the challenges that we must face but our faith in the Lord gives us the courage to continue to hope for a better future for everyone.
Today in your presence we wish to renew our fidelity, the love of the church and our people with the promise that we will do our best to be joyful witnesses of our faith, our love, freely given, of pardon, and building peace in a world that lives in indifference, consumerism and in conflicts of power and interest.