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Pope to new cardinals: practise compassion, be open to all

Published:Monday | February 16, 2015 | 2:00 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP):Pope Francis yesterday exhorted 20 new cardinals to reach out to all those who have been shunned, physically or spiritually, by the church or society.

Celebrating Mass in St Peter's Basilica with the men he installed as cardinals a day earlier, Francis told them that their mission must be one of "welcoming," and of "rolling up our sleeves and not standing by and watching passively the suffering of the world".

The red-hatted "princes of the church" elect pontiffs and help the pope to shape and implement policy. Francis told the cardinals "the way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for eternity". He urged them "to go out in search of those who are distant, those on the outskirts".

Elected Pope in 2013, Francis has sought to make church hierarchy less judgmental and less dominated by its Vatican-based bureaucratic workings.

His picks for cardinals included some from far-flung places such as Myanmar and Tonga.