VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI created 15 new cardinals from 11 countries on March 24, praying that the red garments they now wear would inspire them to an even more “passionate love for Christ, for his Church and for all humanity”.
The Pope told the new cardinals they would be called upon to work closely with him “and this will mean for you a more intense participation in the mystery of the cross as you share in the sufferings of Christ”.
US Cardinal William J. Levada, who is prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was the first to receive his red hat and the scroll attesting to his membership in the College of Cardinals.
As the top-ranking member of the new group, the former Archbishop of San Francisco was called to address the Pope on behalf of the new cardinals.
In accepting their new status, Cardinal Levada said, the new cardinals renew their commitment of “total love and unconditional fidelity to Christ the Lord and to the Christian people”.
In his homily at the prayer service, Pope Benedict told the entire College of Cardinals, which now numbers 193 members, that he counts on them “to proclaim to the world that God is love”.