Father Cantalamessa: “My goal and joy are to be able to be near the pope and to support him through prayer and the Word.”
Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa described the news of his creation as a Cardinal as “a recognition of the Word of God, more than of the person.”
In an interview with Vatican News’ Benedetta Capelli, Cardinal-elect Cantalamessa reflected on his new role.
“To think that a pope – like John Paul II, Benedict, and Francis – would find time to listen to a poor, simple Capuchin is an example that they give to the Church of esteem for the Word of God,” said Fr. Cantalamessa. “In a certain sense, it is they who are preaching to me.”
The 86-year-old Italian added that he plans to continue his mission of preaching to the papal household, starting with the upcoming Advent series, unless he’s asked to step down from his role.
He said he has been surprised to receive so many outpourings of support and affection from people around the world, including several Jewish friends.
“I was greatly pleased,” Fr. Cantalamessa said. “It has always been one of my passions to promote unity and dialogue.”
He noted that their expressions of support are a confirmation for him of “signs of a reawakening that has little to do with me.”
“It’s an aspect related to the great efforts of Pope Francis to build bridges,” he said.
Fr. Cantalamessa went on to describe his vision of the College of Cardinals and what role he has to play as a non-voting member of the College of Cardinals. (He is a non-voting member because he is older than age 85.)
“Since this title is more honorary than effective for me,” he said, “my goal and joy are to be able to be near the pope and to support him through prayer and the Word.”
Cardinal-elect Cantalamessa repeated Pope Francis’ invitation for all the faithful to pray for him and those who have received new roles of responsibility in the Church.