Pope Francis has written to the cardinals he is preparing to appoint next month, warning them to steer clear of “worldliness” and “celebrations” and telling them they should retain “a simple and humble heart”.
Francis has repeatedly warned clerics against being ambitious and has curtailed the use of honorific “monsignor” titles as part of his plans to revamp the Vatican’s scandal-tainted bureaucracy and finances.
“The post of cardinal is not a promotion or an honour or a decoration. It is simply a service that demands a wider view and a bigger heart,” the pope said in his letter, made public by the Vatican on Monday.
He said the 19 new cardinals, who were named on Sunday and will officially be appointed at a consistory on February 22, should make sure they follow the example of Jesus Christ — “the path of humility”.
“You should take up the post with elation and joy but make sure this sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness, any celebrations that are foreign to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.”