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Pope Francis: letter to Mgr Arborelius (Stockholm), “cardinalate is service not princely promotion”. Fraternal closeness and “pray for me”

Dear brother, on the day we celebrate the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I send you a warm embrace as an anticipation of the embrace I will give you during the Consistory on 28 June”. This is the beginning of the letter that Pope Francis had sent to the Bishop of Stockholm Mgr Anders Arborelius on 31 May, which was published today on the website of the Swedish diocese. “With this greeting, I express my hope that your witness as a disciple of the Lord may be ever more strong in the service that the Church entrusts to you today”, the Pope wrote. “The cardinalate is a service”, the letter reads; “it is neither a dignity that makes one more important than others, nor an honorary title, nor a princely promotion”. “It is something completely different and greater: it is a call to follow the Lord more closely, without compromise, unconditionally”. The Pope went on to write that he had prayed especially for the cardinal the day before writing the letter, listening to a reading from the Acts of the Apostles, and reflecting on St Paul’s generous service and his words as an apostle: “I consider life of no importance to me”. “I desired and asked for you the same attitude in your life as a cardinal”, Pope Francis explained, thanking the future cardinal “for the help you will provide to the Church of Rome” while also assuring him of his “prayers” and “fraternal closeness”, and asking him to “remember to pray for me”.

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