When a bishop becomes a cardinal, he receives a new red hat and several new jobs within the Church, among them that of pastor for a Roman parish. Six bishops from different parts of the world will become Roman pastors this Saturday.
Pope Benedict XVI announced on October 24 that he would elevate six bishops to the rank of cardinal -- more or less one per continent (in Europe, the Americas are considered one long continent). The elevation was considered a sign of his respect for these six men and the work they have done in their respective dioceses or offices. The new title comes with new robes and new roles.
In the early Roman church, we know that the title of cardinal was given to priests from important churches in Rome that were tied to the pope. The cardinals were, in a sense, the pope’s assistants. Over time, popes began giving the title of cardinal to priests and bishops from major cities around Europe. These cardinals were responsible, at least in name, for Roman parishes. They had the right to celebrate mass at the three major “cemetery churches” -- St. Peter’s, St. Paul, and St. Lawrence -- and at the major basilicas. They also enjoyed diplomatic privileges, as cardinals were considered princes of the church.
Although the Holy See’s temporal and political status have changed since the days when cardinals were considered royalty, there is some additional work still involved the role.
The six men who are created cardinals this weekend will be given a titular church. They will be assigned as the figure head for a parish in Rome and will shortly after celebrate Mass to “take possession” of their assigned church. Undoubtedly, the new cardinals will also be appointed members of various Pontifical Councils or Congregations in the upcoming weeks and months. Perhaps the role most often associated with the role of cardinal is that of electing the next pope.
When the pope dies, the cardinals gather to decide how long the pope’s body should lie in state (unless the pope has made his wishes known in his will), when the funeral will be held, and when the conclave to elect a successor should begin. Of course, these same men then cast the ballots that determine who will be the next successor of Peter.
The scarlet robes they don at the moment of their elevation symbolize their willingness to die for the faith they profess and teach.
The six bishops who will become cardinals this weekend are:
-Patriarch Bechara Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon (watch S+L interview
-Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, head of the Syro-Malankara Church
-Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria
-Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines (watch S+L interview
-Archbishop James M. Harvey, Prefect of the Papal Household
-Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia
Consistory for the creation of Cardinals
Saturday, November 24
10:00 am ET / 7:00 am PT
Repeat: 8:00 pm ET / 5:00 pm PT
French: 3:30 pm ET / 12:30 pm PT
Mass with the new Cardinals
Sunday, November 25
10:00 am ET / 7:00 am PT
Repeat: 4:00 pm ET / 1:00 pm PT
Papal audience with the new Cardinals
Monday, November 26
Italian: 4:00 pm ET / 1:00 pm PT