VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Thursday gave the church 14 new cardinals, exhorting them to resist temptations toward vanity and to stay on mission, which he specified means serving the needy instead of pursuing their own interests.
In his homily, Francis told the new cardinals to avoid the "quest of honors, jealousy, envy, intrigue, accommodation and compromise."
"What does it gain the world if we are living in a stifling atmosphere of intrigues that dry up our hearts and impede our mission?" the pope asked during a ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica. Francis asked. He lamented the "palace intrigues that take place, even in curial offices."
Among those receiving the cardinals' biretta, or crimson-red square cap with three ridges, was Iraqi churchman Louis Raphael I Sako, the Baghdad-based patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldeans.
Sako told Francis at the start of the ceremony that he welcomed the pope's "special attention" to the small flock of Christians that has faced martyrdom for the faith in the Middle East, Pakistan and elsewhere.
A Pakistani prelate, Joseph Coutts, archbishop of Karachi, and the pope's chief aide for helping the poor in Rome, Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, also were among the 14.
Krajewski, a good-natured Pole, has on the pope's behalf personally distributed sleeping bags to the Italian capital's homeless and driven poor residents on seaside day trips arranged by the Vatican.
With Thursday's ceremony, the College of Cardinals includes 74 named by Francis during his 5-year-old papacy. In comparison, 77 of the cardinals named by John Paul II during his 26 years as pope are still members of the College.
Cardinals younger than 80 are eligible to vote for the next pope in a conclave, when a current pope either resigns or dies. In this context, Francis' picks for cardinal dominate that group: there are 125 cardinals currently young enough to be electors, with 59 of them appointed by Francis, 47 of them by Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor, and 19 who were named by John Paul.
There are 101 cardinals who are too old to participate in selecting a pope.
Francis' picks have reflected his attention to countries located far from the Vatican after centuries of European dominance of the ranks of cardinals.