Pope Francis to Cardinals: We are co-responsible for the Church

197 cardinals participated in the extraordinary consistory, the first of its kind in seven years.

In his homily, Pope Francis highlighted Saint Pope Paul VI and his 1964 encyclical on the Church, Ecclesiam Suam.

Saint Paul VI loved the Church with “a love that is first of all gratitude, grateful wonder at her mystery and the gift of being not only members of the Church, but involved in her life, sharing and even co-responsible for her,” he said.

“At the beginning of his programmatic encyclical Ecclesiam Suamwritten during [Second Vatican] Council,” Francis said, “the first thought that came to the pope’s mind was that ‘the Church must cultivate a deeper awareness of its identity…its origin and its mission.’

“In this regard he made explicit reference to the Letter to the Ephesians, to the ‘providential plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God…that through the Church…it might be revealed.'”

“This was the case with the Apostle Saint Paul, as we see in his letters. His apostolic zeal and his concern for the community have always been accompanied, even preceded, by words of blessing filled with wonder and gratitude: “Blessed be God…” declared Pope Francis.

“May it be the same for us,” he concluded. “May it be so for each of you, dear Brother Cardinals. May the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, obtain this grace for each one of us.

Martha J. Finley