The patriarch of Jerusalem is a cardinal

Submitted by munir on Tue, 07/11/2023 - 09:45

With Pope Francis' nomination of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa  as a cardinal among the 21 new cardinals, His Beatitude Pizzaballa will be the first patriarch of Jerusalem, since the re-establishment of the Latin Patriarchate, to wear the Orange Hat that symbolizes the cardinals' mission. A motley of religious and official groups from all over the world conveyed well wishes to the patriarch as well as to the Patriarchate that bears the noble name, namely the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.


Cardinals in general are direct assistant to His Holiness the Pope, who is considered the successor of St. Peter, the head of the Catholic Church in the world and the head of the Vatican known internationally as the Holy See. One of the most important tasks of the College of Cardinals is the convening of the Conclave in the event of sede vacante whether due to the death of the Pope or his resignation as happened in 2013 when the late Pope Benedict XVI submitted his resignation. Cardinals under the age of 80 are entitled to participate in the voting process privately. With the selection of 21 new cardinals, two of whom are not entitled to vote because of their advanced age, the total number of cardinals eligible to vote reached 137 which is an unprecedented number in the history of the Church compared to previous years as the maximum number of voters stood at 120.


Referring back to Jerusalem, Cardinal-select Pizzaballa will remain in Jerusalem in his capacity as the Latin patriarch to manage the spiritual and administrative affairs of the diocese as well as its ecclesiastical, educational and judicial institutions. The patriarchate has its deep-rooted presence, mission, and functionaries in the Palestinian and Jordanian communities as well as in Cyprus, in addition to the presence of a number of our priests who work in the Holy See. His Beatitude Cardinal Patriarch  Pierbattista Pizzaballa (a title that he will be referred to after September 30 the day when he receives the Cardinal Hat in a solemn celebration in the Vatican), served as custodian of the Holy Land and head of the Franciscan Order for 12 years. Pope Francis also appointed him bishop and apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate on June 24. 2016 until he was named patriarch in 2020. And now he is elevated to the rank of cardinal, while remaining patriarch in Jerusalem like the other eastern cardinals currently located in Lebanon and Iraq, namely Cardinal Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi and Cardinal Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako respectively.


Patriarch Pizzaballa thanked everyone who wished him well on this nomination which he termed as surprising. He also thanked the Almighty God as well as Pope Francis while calling for praying for him so that he may remain "performing his humble service for the Kingdom of God, namely here in the Holy Land" since the Holy Land deserves attention and focusing eyes towards it. It is the Land of Lord Jesus Christ from where the annunciation emerged at time when it has great thirst for peace, freedom, justice, and independence. It is remarkable that the named Cardinal began his first activities on Monday morning (July 10) following his nomination by visiting Jenin, where he stood by the devastation caused by the Israeli bombings last week at the Latin Church. He also visited the Jenin camp and expressed condolences to the families of the martyrs, and visited the wounded in hospitals. The Cardinal of Jerusalem has duties and missions that are greater than many of his peers in the world. It is hoped that his nomination will acquire appreciation in light of the contributions of the local Church in the service of the Arab communities where it is located.

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Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader