What does it mean for you, concretely, to be a cardinal? The scarlet color of a cardinal’s garments, which you shall receive, is a symbol of their readiness to shed their blood for the pope and the Church. However, today it doesn’t look like you are going to run that risk.
Cardinal Czerny: Well, it’s something you can’t explain. It happened to the Jesuits in El Salvador, and that was unthinkable. We have more martyrs today than in the age of the Roman persecutions. We are not fully conscious of the danger of being Christian.
When a pope is elected, he takes a new name to show that his past life has died, and that from the moment of the election onwards he has a new life consecrated to his new service. That’s the way I’m trying to live this new mission. Will everything continue as before for me? That’s obviously not the case.
I began to assimilate that five minutes after the phone call with the announcement. You don’t know, you can’t foresee what will happen, but you have to embrace something new, a breadth and depth that you hadn’t sought. To the point of shedding blood…
In the years you have left working at the service of the pope, as a bishop, as a priest, and as a baptized Catholic, what would you like to do? How would you like to be remembered by those who have known you?
Cardinal Czerny: The readings and reflections that I have received since the announcement of my election as a cardinal on September 1 encourage me greatly, because they confirm for me that God knows very well how to use a poor man to contribute to the coming of His Kingdom.
I count on His help for that to continue and intensify, as I help and support the mission of Francis, the Successor of Peter.