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Receive office with 'simple and humble heart,' Pope writes cardinal-designates

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Pope Francis has written a letter dated yesterday to th 19 prelates who he has announced that he will create as members of the College of Cardinals, urging them to treat their new ecclesiastical positions as a service to the Universal Church and not to behave as though elevation to the Sacred College is some kind of promotion. “The cardinalship does not imply promotion,” adding that “it is neither an honor nor a decoration,” the Pontiff wrote, “it is simply a service that requires you to broaden your gaze and open your hearts.”

"Although this may appear paradoxical, the ability to look further and to love more universally with greater intensity may be acquired only by following the same path of the Lord: the path of self-effacement and humility, taking on the role of a servant," wrote Francis. The Holy Father asked that the new cardinals "receive this designation with a simple and humble heart." In a move that is somewhat unusual, the Pope said that the new cardinals must receive their offices "with pleasure and joy," he further asked them to "ensure that this sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness or from any form of celebration contrary to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty."

Francis has underscored since the beginning of his pontificate the need for all of those who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders to focus more deeply on the reality that their ordination is a sacrament of service.

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