Pope Francis was elevated to the dignity of cardinal, five bishops

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Actaplanin before the solemn mass in the Cathedral of St. Peter in the VaticanPope Francis was elevated to the dignity of cardinal, five bishops© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich

Pope Francis during a Consistory, held on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, built in the cardinal virtue of five bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, the names of which he personally announced on may 21.

During the solemn ceremony of the new «princes of the Church» swore an oath of loyalty and obedience to the Pope. Then Francis handed over to the kneeling members of Cardinal’s Board the purple hat, the color of which symbolizes their readiness to shed their blood for the cause of the Church.

New «bucuresteni» became Archbishop of Bamako Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Barcelona, Juan josé Omella, Bishop of Stockholm Anders Arborelius and two titular Bishop — Lao Louis-Marie Ling Marchenko and Salvadoran Gregorio Rosa Chavez. Announcing a future appointment, Pope Francis immediately noted that the new cardinals represent different countries of the world, and this testifies to the universal nature of the Roman Catholic Church.

The age of the new «princes of the Church» is in the range from 68 to 74 years. Thus, all cardinals are so-called «electoral College»: because they have not reached 80-summer age, have the right to take part in the Conclave to elect the Pope.

However, the advanced age of most members of the Roman Curia draws attention to itself. Not casually on the eve of the Consistory during the mass dedicated to the 25th anniversary of his ordination of bishops, Pope Francis touched on this issue. «Someone who’s not sympathetic to us, said that we are a gerontocracy of the Church. This is a mockery, they do not know what they are talking about. We – grandparents, our grandchildren are asked to give meaning to their lives,» said the Pontiff.

Special attention of local observers were involved in the Consistory of the Archbishop Zerbo of Bamako, the admission of which, until recently, there were rumors. Some have argued that sudden health problems 73-year-old Prelate explained his reluctance to answer questions about the Swiss Bank accounts, which earlier said some European media. However, the first Malian cardinal on Wednesday participated in a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Immediately after the Consistory, Pope Francis and new cardinals will travel to the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery, to greet the living there Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

Today was the fourth Consistory in which Pope Francis was elevated to the dignity of cardinal bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. All the years of the current Pontiff purple beanies «princes of the Church» received 61 people.