Cardinals Update : Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, President Emeritus of the Governatorate of the Vatican City State and the President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State (Italy), turned 80, ceases to be a Cardinal-elector

Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo,Pope Benedict XVI leads a solemn mass at St Peter's basilica to celebrate the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

(Image of Cardinal Lajolo is courtesy of Spaziani)

On Saturday, 3 January 2015, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio, President Emeritus of the Governatorate of the Vatican City State and the President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State (Italy), turned 80, and therefore, according to the rules written in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, he lost his right to vote in any future conclave. Cardinal Darmaatmadja was born at Novara in Italy on 3 January 1935.

Cardinal Lajolo was made Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio by Pope Benedict XVI in the 2007 Consistory of Cardinals on 24 November 2007, the second Consistory of his pontificate. Cardinal Lajolo was made a Cardinal in honour of his position as the President of both the Governatorate of the Vatican City State and the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State. He was for a long time involved in the works of the Roman Curia and in the relations between the Church and the states.

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http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardB16-2.htm#664

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(Coat of arms of His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo)

May God bless His Eminence Cardinal Lajolo with a blessed old age and health. May he remain strong in the faith and hopefully can perhaps still continue to work great graces and good works of love and peace just as he had once done in his long service to the Church, through his many contributions to the Church via the Roman Curia, helping to manage the extensive governance of the Church of God.

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The College of Cardinals now stands at 208 members in total, with 110 Cardinal-electors and 98 Cardinal non-electors. There are now a vacancy of 10 Cardinal-electors as compared to the maximum number of electors allowed in the Conclave of 120.

Next Cardinal-elector to age out (80) will be Cardinal-Patriarch Antonios Naguib (Egypt), the Patriarch Emeritus of Alexandria of the Copts on 18 March 2015.

Cardinals Update : Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja, Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Jakarta (Indonesia), turned 80, ceases to be a Cardinal-elector

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On Saturday, 20 December 2014, Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja, S.J., Cardinal-Priest of S. Cuore di Maria, Cardinal Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Jakarta (Indonesia), turned 80, and therefore, according to the rules written in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, he lost his right to vote in any future conclave. Cardinal Darmaatmadja was born at Muntilan in the Central Java Province of Indonesia, then was the Dutch colony of the Dutch East Indies on 20 December 1934.

Cardinal Darmaatmadja was made Cardinal-Priest of S. Cuore di Maria by Pope St. John Paul II in the 1994 Consistory of Cardinals on 26 November 1994, the sixth Consistory of his pontificate. Cardinal Darmaatmadja was made a Cardinal in honour of his position as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Semarang, a position which he held from 1983 to 1996, and being one of the heart of Christianity in Indonesia at the island of Java. After that Cardinal Darmaatmadja became the Metropolitan Archbishop of Jakarta from 1996 to his retirement in 2010.

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http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardJP2-6.htm#41

Cardinal Darmaatmadja did not attend the 2013 Papal Conclave which elected Pope Francis due to his ill health and deteriorating eyesight, even though he was still a Cardinal-elector then.

May God bless His Eminence Cardinal Darmaatmadja with a blessed old age and health. May he remain strong in the faith and hopefully can perhaps still continue to work great graces and good works of love and peace just as he had once done in his long service to the Church, particularly his contributions as the shepherd of the many faithful in Indonesia, in the two Archdioceses of Semarang and Jakarta.

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(Above is Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja just after the 1994 Consistory)

The College of Cardinals now stands at 208 members in total, with 111 Cardinal-electors and 97 Cardinal non-electors. There are now a vacancy of 9 Cardinal-electors as compared to the maximum number of electors allowed in the Conclave of 120.

Next Cardinal-elector to age out (80) will be Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo (Italy), the President Emeritus of the Governorate of the Vatican City State on 3 January 2015.

Cardinals Update : Cardinal Franc Rode, C.M., Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life (Slovenia), turned 80, ceases to be a Cardinal-elector

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On Tuesday, 23 September 2014, Cardinal Franc Rode, C.M., Cardinal-Deacon of S. Francesco Saverio alla Garbatella, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life (Slovenia), turned 80, and therefore, according to the rules written in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, he lost his right to vote in any future conclave. Cardinal Franc Rode was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 5 September 1934.

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Cardinal Rode was made Cardinal-Deacon of S. Francesco Saverio alla Garbatella by Pope Benedict XVI in the 2006 Consistory of Cardinals on 24 March 2006, the first Consistory of his pontificate. Cardinal Rode was made a Cardinal in honour of his position as the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, the branch of the Roman Curia in charge of all religious orders and all matters pertaining to religious life and profession, a position he held from 2004 to 2011. Before that, Cardinal Rode was the Metropolitan Archbishop of Ljubljana (Slovenia), the greatest and largest see in the country of Slovenia, from 1997 to 2004.

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http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardB16-1.htm#695

May God bless His Eminence Cardinal Rode with a blessed old age and health. May he remain strong in the faith and hopefully can perhaps still continue to work great graces and good works of love and peace just as he had once done in his long service to the Church, particularly his contributions as a member of the Roman Curia in helping the actions of the Holy See and the Pope.

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The College of Cardinals now stands at 210 members in total, with 113 Cardinal-electors and 97 Cardinal non-electors. There are now a vacancy of 7 Cardinal-elector as compared to the maximum number of electors allowed in the Conclave of 120.

Next Cardinal-elector to age out (80) will be Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B. (Italy), the Cardinal Secretary of State Emeritus of the Secretariat of State and the current Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church of the Apostolic Camera on 2 December 2014.

Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Sao Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) turns 80, ceases to be a Cardinal-elector

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Today, Saturday, 19 October 2013, Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, Cardinal-Priest of S. Gregorio Magno alla Magliana Nuova, the Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Sao Salvador da Bahia, of Brazil, turns 80, and therefore, according to the rules written in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, he loses his right to vote in any future conclave.

Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo was made Cardinal-Priest of S. Gregorio Magno alla Magliana Nuova by Pope John Paul II in the 2001 Consistory of Cardinals on 21 February 2001, the eighth of his pontificate. He was also the once the Secretary of Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 1991, prior to his appointment as Metropolitan Archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia in 1999. He retired in 2011.

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http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardJP2-8.htm#1

May God bless His Eminence Cardinal Agnelo, with a blessed old age and health. May he remain strong in the faith and hopefully can perhaps still carry out the mission God had given him in an active retirement and old age.

The College of Cardinals now stands at 201 members in total, with 109 Cardinal-electors and 92 Cardinal non-electors. There are now vacancy of 11 Cardinal-electors as compared to the maximum number of electors allowed in the Conclave of 120, although Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI had sometimes surpassed this limit.

Next Cardinal-elector to age out (80) will be Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the current Metropolitan Archbishop of Koln (Germany),  on 25 December 2013.

New Secretary of State of the Holy See, Archbishop Pietro Parolin

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Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the longtime veteran of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, and a skilled and veteran diplomat in his current role as the Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, as the trusted aide to Pope Benedict XVI (now Pope Emeritus), had been appointed on Saturday, 31 August 2013 as the new Secretary of State, the top position of the Roman Curia, the governing body of the Church.

In addition, as positions tied to the post of Secretary of State, Archbishop Parolin also automatically become the new President of Interdicasterial Commission on Particular Churches (which task is managing the Eastern Catholic Churches), President of Interdicasterial Commission for the Church in Eastern Europe, and the Protector of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

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Archbishop Pietro Parolin will replace the outgoing Cardinal Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., who is also the Chamberlain (Camerlengo) of the Church, effective on 15 October 2013 as per the decree of Pope Francis released today.

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Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is then the Secretary of State Emeritus effective on the state mentioned in the paragraph above (15 October), when Archbishop Pietro Parolin officially takes over as the new Secretary of State. The position of the Secretary of State is the top in the Roman Curia, below only the Pope in the hierarchy of the Church. Cardinal Bertone will however remain as the Camerlengo of the Church.

We thank Cardinal Bertone for all his hard work and contributions to the Church, many of which were unknown to many, and all the labours he had done in great humility and dedication in his position as the servant of the Holy Church.

As the Secretary of State position is the top official post of the entire Church and the Roman Curia save for the Pope himself, it is expected that the 58 years old Archbishop Pietro Parolin will be made a Cardinal in the next Consistory of Cardinals (possibly early 2014 or late 2014).

Friday, 2 August 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop; and St. Peter Julian Eymard, Priest (First Reading)

Leviticus 23 : 1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37

YHVH spoke to Moses, “Then there are the appointed feasts of YHVH at the times fixed for them, when you are to proclaim holy assemblies. At twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month is YHVH’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of this month it is YHVH’s feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you shall eat bread without leaven.

On the first day there will be a sacred assembly and no work of a worker shall be done. For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to YHVH and on the seventh day you shall hold a sacred assembly and do no work of a worker.”

YHVH spoke to Moses and said, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them : When you enter the land that I will give you and you reap its harvest, you will bring to the priest a sheaf, the firstfruits of your harvest and he shall wave the sheaf before YHVH for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

“From the day after the sabbath, on which you bring the sheaf of offering, you are to count seven full weeks. The day after the seventh sabbath will be the fiftieth day and then you are to offer YHVH a new offering.”

“The tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. You are to hold a sacred assembly. You must fast, and you must offer a burnt offering to YHVH.”

“The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of Tents for YHVH, lasting seven days. The first day you shall hold an assembly; you must do no work of a worker. For seven days you must offer a burnt offering to YHVH. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly and you must offer a burnt offering to YHVH. It is a day of solemn assembly in which you shall do no work of a worker.”

“These are the appointed feasts of YHVH in which you are to proclaim holy assemblies for the purpose of offering offerings by fire, burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings to YHVH, according to the ritual of each day.”

Thursday, 4 July 2013 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord loves us, He loves all of us without exception, and He wants us to be reunited with Him, but He also wants us to be free from the sins and evil that separate us from Him. That was why He sent us Jesus, His Son, that we may have hope of salvation, through His authority, for He, as the Son of God, one with the Father, has authority over all the creation, and over sin. That was why He was able to forgive those whom He deemed worthy, from their sins, such as the paralytic. The Lord loves us all, and He showed mercy to those who suffer.

Obedience to God and His will is important, because while He gave us free will in order to choose what we want to do for our lives, and He did also give us plenty of freedom in that regard. He gave us plenty of time and opportunities in order to live according to His commandments and His Law, just as Abraham had done his entire life.

Abraham did not withhold from the Lord even his only son, and this son is not just any son, but the very son that the Lord had promised him for a long time, and who had been made the heir of Abraham, as the son of Abraham and Sarah, his wife. Sarah gave birth to Isaac in her old age, in the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Yet, then that child was requested by the Lord from Abraham, to be a burnt offering for Him.

One may only guess the emotions running within Abraham when he heard of the Lord’s request for Isaac to be a burnt offering. After all the promise and the difficulties that came before Isaac was finally born into the world, this young one was to be burned as a sacrifice for the Lord, and therefore, the entire hope and excitement over Isaac as Abraham’s heir would have been a waste. Certainly, such thoughts must have resonated within Abraham’s mind. Yet, he remained entirely faithful in God and in His plans, and His will, and he gave a full consent to God’s request, bringing Isaac to be sacrificed on the mountains of Moriah.

It is not easy to give up one’s most beloved one, especially to be killed as a sacrifice. But Abraham did it, and he proved his faith to the Lord and his obedience through that action, showing that Abraham valued nothing more than the Lord his God, and put even his own son, only son into risk for the sake of the Lord. But wait, even though we may think that Abraham had gone all the way in giving up his precious one for the Lord, there is indeed another, even far greater case and example of self-sacrifice that had happened in this world.

What is that? Yes, none other than the Lord Himself. He gave us His own Son, Jesus Christ, in sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins. Through His death came our redemption, and through His life, we are born again in a new life in God. He gave Himself as the ultimate offering for our sins, as His Blood, the Blood of the purest Lamb of all, the Lamb of God, is the only thing worthy for all the monstrosity of our sins, as great is our sins from our forefathers to us, and from us to our children.

Christ Himself taught that there is no greater love than those who gave their lives for their friends, and in giving up His own life, He showed the perfect nature of His love for all. He died for all without exception, and offered everybody His salvation, if only they would repent and believe in Him as their Lord and Saviour. Abraham too showed his great love through his offering of his only son, the promised son, Isaac, to the Lord. Brothers and sisters, we must always love God, and our brothers and sisters, most importantly those who are in great need for our care and our love.

Today, brethren, we also commemorate the memorial and feast of St. Elizabeth of Portugal. St. Elizabeth of Portugal was Queen consort of Portugal, and had been very devout in her devotion to the Lord and to the cause of the faith even before she was Queen, and when she became Queen, she became patron of numerous activities and organisations through which she did much effort to bring love and service to others, particularly those in need, and also preach the Gospel of Christ to those who were still in darkness.

St. Elizabeth of Portugal joined the religious life after she was widowed, and even though she was dowager queen, she did not hesitate to involve herself extensively in numerous acts of charity for the poor and sick, whom she had a special devotion to in her works. She is also a well-known peacemaker, having been a great diplomat and endowed with great intellect and charm. She brokered many peace agreements between warring parties, and even her assistance was asked after she had joined religious life, and even then, she showed her skills in ensuring peace between parties in conflict.

St. Elizabeth of Portugal is an example to all of us, brothers and sisters, that all of us should give love and life through our deeds and actions daily. We must show love in all the things that we do without exception, bringing love to those who need it, and care to those who are poor and suffering. We must also be peacemakers, to bring peace between brothers and sisters who are in conflict, that hate will never take hold in this world, and instead, in its place, love would occupy the hearts of men, that we will once again remember the love God had once given us, through the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, His expression of His ultimate and undying love for all of us.

May the Lord strengthen us and empower us with His love, that we will be always courageous and strong, in our increasingly darkened world, that we will become beacons of light, beacons of hope, and beacons of love. May God bless us at all times and be with us always. Amen.