New Zealander declared a Cardinal

Cardinal John Dew last night (11pm NZ time) officially became a Cardinal in a ceremony in St Peter’s Basilica, in Rome by Pope Francis.

Pope Francis, in his address to the new Cardinals, said “The cardinalate is certainly an honour, but it is not honorific. This we already know from its name – “cardinal” – from the word “cardo”, a hinge. As such it is not a kind of accessory, a decoration, like an honorary title. Rather, it is a pivot, a point of support and movement essential for the life of the community. You are “hinges” and are “incardinated” in the Church of Rome, which “presides over the entire assembly of charity”…”

The Holy Father went on to say to the new Cardinals, who now become advisers to the Pope, that “The greater our responsibility in serving the Church, the more our hearts must expand according to the measure of the heart of Christ.”

Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, and current President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference was the fourth to kneel before Pope Francis as he placed the Cardinals ring on his finger and a biretta (a red hat worn by Cardinals) on his head and declared him a Cardinal.

It was a moment watched with great joy and hope by Catholics throughout New Zealand via a live feed from the Vatican’s website a rare opportunity that would not have been possible the last time a New Zealander (Cardinal Thomas Williams) was made a Cardinal in 1983.

The ceremony included the new Cardinals declaring the fidelity and obedience to the Holy Father and his successors.

The scarlet red colour worn by Cardinals signifies their willingness to act with courage even to ‘shedding their blood’ to the point of death for the faith.

Sunday night (Rome time) Cardinal John Dew will celebrate his first Mass as a Cardinal with his family, friends and supporters who have travelled to Rome to witness the event. Cardinal John Dew is to dedicate this Mass for the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, for the Catholic Church in New Zealand and all those who have sent messages of support and those praying for him back home.

For more information please contact Simone Olsen, 021611052, Communications Adviser, NZ Catholic Bishops.