His Holiness Pope Francis has named His Beatitude Patriarch Pizzaballa as cardinal.
A statement issued by Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader indicates that the nomination of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem on Sunday, July 9–among the new named cardinals–is evident of His Holiness the Pope’s appreciation of His Beatitude the Patriarch, and of highly valuing his role in the service of the Holy Land for more than three decades.
Fr. Bader indicated that Patriarch Pizzaballa will receive the Cardinal’s Hat in a solemn ceremony to be presided at by His Holiness Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on September 30 to become a member of the College of Cardinals and a direct assistant to His Holiness the Pope. He added that the named Cardinal has earlier sent a message of thanks to all well wishers, as he lifted up his thanks to the Almighty God and to the Pontiff while calling for prayers for him so that he may “remain always in the humble service here, in the Holy Land.”
Fr. Bader referred to the strong bond between Patriarch Pizzaballa and the Holy Land which began in the early 1990s as he was the Custos of the Holy Land and head of the Franciscan Order for 12 years, bishop and apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate in 2016, and patriarch in 2020. His Majesty King Abdullah II conferred upon him on Independence Day in 2022 King Abdullah II Award for Excellence of the First Class in appreciation of his great role and contributions to spreading tolerance and consolidating common living in Jerusalem, as well as for his defence of Christian sanctities there.
He pointed out that the first activity undertaken by His Beatitude Patriarch Pizzaballa on Monday, July 10, was visiting the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, where he inspected the damage inflicted on the Latin Church in Jenin in the aftermath of the recent two-day Israeli aggression. His Beatitude Patriarch Pizzaballa and his accompanying delegation members were also apprised of the situation in Jenin Camp as they toured the streets of the camp.
At the end of the statement, Father Bader stressed that this nomination will enhance the voice of the Holy Land in the global arena which calls for a just and comprehensive solution to its noble human cause.
Furthermore, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas conveyed well wishes to him on this nomination, expressing his confidence that Cardinal Pizzaballa will continue to preserve the holy places and maintain their historical and legal status, as well as to “work with us to protect and consolidate the authentic Christian presence in Palestine.”