Pope Francis inducted 19 new cardinals at a ceremony held on Saturday in the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica and urged the freshmen cardinals to avoid rivalries and creating divisions. These are the first such inductions since the pontiff’s election last March.
The new cardinals hail from different countries, including Burkina Faso, Brazil, South Korea, Haiti and the Ivory Coast.
, the scandal-plagued predecessor of Pope Francis, made an unexpected appearance at the cardinals’ induction ceremony. It was the first time the Pope Emeritus attended a papal ceremony after his resignation about a year back. Appearing feeble, Benedict lined up with the presented cardinals for the observance in the historic church.
Pope Francis presented the new cardinals with the time-honored biretta and ring at the official rite called a public consistory. The biretta, a red cap, signifies the cardinals' obedience to even die for their beliefs.
Cardinals are the pope's closest advisers, besides being Church heads in their home countries; those who do not live in the Vatican are associates of major committees in Rome that make decisions about policies that can shape the lives of about 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
A rivalry between divisions in the Vatican's central management was held responsible for the mishaps and disgraces that led to the fall of Benedict's eight-year-long papacy, built up on the Vatileaks scandal of 2012 in which Benedict's butler stole private papers and disclosed them to the media. When in 2013 Benedict became the first pope in almost six centuries to resign, he announced that he would live a life of privacy and study.
Pope Francis wrote a letter in January to the chosen clergy in which he advised them to stay humble.
Becoming a cardinal "does not signify a promotion, an honor nor a decoration: It is simply a service that demands a broader vision and a bigger heart," he said, according to a report on CNN. "And, although it seems a paradox, this ability to look further and love more universally with greater intensity can be acquired only by following the way of the Lord: The way of lowliness and of humility, taking the form of a servant."