Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Even unto shedding their blood...

Why do Cardinals wear red? There is an answer to this question in the address of Pope Benedict XVI given at the recent consistory in Rome for the creation of new cardinals:
In carrying out their particular service in support of the Petrine ministry, the new Cardinals will be called to consider and evaluate the events, the problems and the pastoral criteria which concern the mission of the entire Church. In this delicate task, the life and the death of [Peter] the Prince of the Apostles, who for love of Christ gave himself even unto the ultimate sacrifice, will be an example and a helpful witness of faith for the new Cardinals.

It is with this meaning that the placing of the red biretta is also to be understood. 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, as expressed in the words of placing the biretta and as indicated by the colour of their robes. Furthermore, they are asked to serve the Church with love and vigour, with the transparency and wisdom of teachers, with the energy and strength of shepherds, with the fidelity and courage of martyrs. They are to be eminent servants of the Church that finds in Peter the visible foundation of unity.
No, not every man has the courge to embrace martyrdom; let us see in this witness that every Christian ought to have the courage to embrace martyrdom should it ever come to that. Let us, in particular, pray for Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York who, as current president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, must stand up on behalf of the Catholic Church in America against [and hopefully work with] the Obama Administration in defense of rights of conscience and religious liberty.  Let us also pray for our president and those in the Administration.


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