Vatican Radio, Nov. 24, 2012— Pope Benedict XVI took the universality of the Church as the theme of his allocution to the participants in the Consistory held at the Vatican on Saturday, during which he created six new Cardinals: Archbishop James M. Harvey, Prefect of the Papal Household; His Beatitude, Bechara Boutros Raï, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch in Lebanon; His Beatitude, Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum in India and head of the Syro-Malankara Church; Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria; Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogotá, Colombia; and Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in the Philippines.
The Holy Father focused on the meaning of the word, “Catholic” – “A word,” he said, “which indicates an essential feature of the Church and her mission.” The Holy Father went on to say, “What makes the Church catholic is the fact that Christ in his saving mission embraces all humanity.”
Pope Benedict explained that the universality of the Church flows from the universality of God’s unique plan of salvation for the world, and that this universal character emerges clearly on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fills the first Christian community with his presence, so that the Gospel may spread to all nations, causing the one People of God to grow in all peoples.
“Situated within the context and the perspective of the Church’s unity and universality,” said Pope Benedict, “is the College of Cardinals: it presents a variety of faces, because it expresses the face of the universal Church.”
The Holy Father went on to explain that in Saturday’s Consistory, he wanted especially to highlight the fact that the Church is the Church of all peoples, and so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents. “She is the Church of Pentecost,” he said. (Vatican Radio)