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Pope creates first ever cardinal in Laos

Cardinal Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, four other cardinals told to serve people of God, tackle world's sins
Pope creates first ever cardinal in Laos

Apostolic vicar of Pakse, Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun from Laos walks after kneeling before Pope Francis to pledge allegiance and become cardinal during a consistory for the creation of five new cardinals on June 28 at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

Published: June 29, 2017 05:29 AM GMT
Updated: June 29, 2017 11:35 AM GMT

Cardinals are not called to be "princes" of the church, but to serve the people of God and tackle the sins of the world, Pope Francis told five new cardinals.

Jesus "calls you to serve like him and with him, to serve the father and your brothers and sisters," the pope said as he created five new cardinals from five nations June 28.

One of the new cardinals created during the prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica was Cardinal Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, apostolic vicar of Pakse, Laos, 73.

The pope said the cardinals, as leaders like Christ, are there to be slaves and serve others.

The reality is always the cross, he said, and the sins the cardinals must face today include: "the innocent who suffer and die as victims of war and terrorism; the forms of enslavement that continue to violate human dignity even in the age of human rights; the refugee camps, which at times seem more like a hell than a purgatory; the systematic discarding of all that is no longer useful, people included."

Jesus "has not called you to become 'princes' of the church, to 'sit at his right or at his left,'" the pope told the new cardinals. "He calls you to serve like him and with him," Catholic News Service reported the pope as saying.

Cardinal Ling said he experienced persecution first hand. After Laos became communist, he set off — without government permission — to preach the Gospel in small villages and in prisons, according to his Vatican biography. He was arrested in 1984 and accused of "making propaganda for Jesus."

The new cardinal, the first Laos has had, was imprisoned for three years, "with chains on my arms and my legs," he said.

But being a prisoner was "an apostolate," he said. "My presence [in prison] was necessary for my conversion and purification and also for that of others."

At the end of the consistory, the College of Cardinals had 225 members, 121 of whom are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a pope.

Full story: Pope tells new cardinals to serve people, tackle sins

Source: Catholic News Service

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