I'm reading a back issue (I'm always behind) of Inside the Vatican (February 2014) with profiles of the men raised to Cardinal by Pope Francis. Very interesting reading. None were from the U.S. (I think we should cheer.) and many were from poor countries that never had a cardinal before. A number of the men come from modest backgrounds. Also, the orthodoxy of several was particularly noted by the writers. An interesting side note is that the Vatican didn't give these men a heads up. One found out from a woman in the congregation where he was officiating Confirmation. He said, like the apostles on Easter Sunday, he didn't believe it until he read it on the Vatican website. Another said the nunciature is usually notified a few days ahead of the announcement, but they'd heard nothing. The first cardinal from Ouagadougou thought it was a joke.
Click on the Inside the Vatican link above to read the article.
I'll just give a few highlights that really encouraged me:
Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano, Archbishop of Managua - "Archbishop Brenes Solorzano is beloved in his country because of his concern for the poor." He often addresses the serious problems of his nation including unemployment, "because we know that if a parent does not work, this means that there are six people who go without food."
Philippe Nakellentuba Ouedraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou - Archbishop Ouedraogo is from the third poorest nation in the world, the landlocked African country of Burkina Faso. He has been a voice for the poor in that country where the gap between rich and poor is widening.
Chibly Langlois, Bishop of Les Cayes - Haiti's first cardinal in history "is known as a tireless worker, an advocate for the people, and someone who never forgot his impoverished childhood."
Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec - Archbishop Lacroix, with a background in missionary work considers Quebec a see facing a "tsunami of secularization." At 56 he is among the youngest of the cardinals and is known for his orthodoxy. Michael Coren of Canada's Sun chain of newspapers wrote in January the Lacroix is "multilingual, experienced, and highly competent. He's also profoundly orthodox and his appointment will provide little comfort to those who fantasized that this papacy was about to liberalize the Church. He said in an interview in Quebec City last November that...'Our mission must be to preach the truth of the Gospel,a nd the full message of the Gospel. The rest does not belong to us. Some will convert and will follow Christ; others will reject us and persecute us for being different.'"There are others on the list I could have added here like Mario Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires who, like his predecessor, takes public transportation and lives simply. We could use more men like that here in the U.S. In fact, I can't say I'm disappointed that the Pope passed up our bishops. We already have too many cardinals who take seriously their designation as "Princes of the Church" while they live like kings. There's something obscene about a man in a roman collar who has a climate-controlled wine cellar and a house decked out like the palace of Versailles.
As for the list of new cardinals, check it out and see for yourself how the pope seemed to follow the Biblical admonition to embrace a preferential option for the poor in his selections. Now wouldn't be good for each of us to reflect on how he can practice poverty in accordance with his state in life?