Among the new cardinals are two Salesians, Archbishop Daniel Sturla of Montevideo, Uruguay (right, above), and Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Rangoon, Burma (left).
During the ordinary public consistory for the creation of the new cardinals, Pope Francis said: “The cardinalate is certainly an honor, but it is not honorific. This we already know from its name–‘cardinal’–from the word cardo, a hinge. As such it is not a kind of accessory, a decoration, like an honorary title. Rather, it is a pivot, a point of support and movement essential for the life of the community.”
Those were the opening words of his homily. He proceeded with an analysis of St. Paul’s well-known hymn to charity (1 Cor 13). This was followed by the rite of creating the new cardinals, their profession of faith, and their oath of loyalty and obedience to the Pope and his successors.
In an interview with the news agency Zenit, Cardinal Sturla said that he considers the cardinalate an award for “the good things done by the Uruguayan Church” and “for the Uruguayan people” rather than a title to his credit–remarks very much in tune with the Pope’s message.
In Uruguay, the Church is struggling with the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics in Latin America. In the same interview, Cardinal Sturla said: “The Catholic Church has launched a program for the proclamation of the faith. The results have been good in terms of commitment to the poor and social concerns. . . . Another major challenge is that of vocations to the religious life, the priesthood, and laity committed to the life of the Church. My desire is to bring the Church everywhere, calling for a strong missionary evangelization in a secular environment in a pluralistic society.”
In a report, also with Zenit, Cardinal Bo said, “With the good will of the government and of all the people of Burma, we can arrive at reconciliation among all ethnic groups, leading to peace and to full development.” Cardinal Bo is the first cardinal in the history of his country, which has a strong Buddhist tradition. He sees the bicentennial of Don Bosco’s birth as a good opportunity to revive the Church’s involvement in Burma, especially by laying emphasis on the education of young people. “The example of Don Bosco’s work for the young, with his Preventive System based on kindness and tenderness, is very relevant at the present time and should be revived and strengthened.”(The 2 newest SDB cardinals bring SDB membership in the sacred college up to 9, of whom 5 are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave: Cardinals Oscar Rodriguez, Angelo Amato, Ricardo Ezzati, Bo, and Sturla. The 4 elders are Cardinals Miguel Obando, Joseph Zen, Tarcisio Bertone, and Raffaele Farina.)