Filipino cardinal-elect Archbishop Jose Advincula of Capiz and Bishop Cornelius Sim of the Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam will not be attending the consistory in the Vatican where they are supposed to receive their “red hats” from Pope Francis this month.
A consistory is a formal meeting of the College of Cardinals called by the pope to allow him to consult with the entire membership of the College.
Last month, Pope Francis announced a consistory on November 28 for the creation of 13 new cardinals, including Archbishops Advincula and Sim.
Father Emilio Arbatin, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Capiz, said the prelates decided to cancel their trip to Rome due to the rising cases of the new coronavirus disease in Italy.
“[Cardinal-designate Advincula] received a communication from the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila that he has an option not to go to Rome for the consistory,” read a statement from the archbishop.
Father Arbatin said Archbishop Advincula has been in close correspondence with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Vatican’s Prefect for the Evangelization of Peoples, about the cancelled trip.
A message has also been sent to the Holy Father, through Cardinal Tagle, regarding the cancellations of the trip.
Father Arbatin said Archbishop Advincula would have really wanted to go to Rome and already had a ticket reservation.
“But this is an extraordinary time that also needs prudent judgment,” said Father Arbatin.
When asked how will Archbishop Advincula receive his “red hat,” Father Arbatin said the prelate is waiting for instructions from the Vatican.
“As of now, the cardinal-designate is still awaiting for the Vatican [master of ceremonies] Monsignor Guido Marini, for details and instructions,” said the priest.
Father Arbatin, however, said that “knowing the cardinal,” he would opt for the “simplest ceremonies” that will be “most convenient for everyone.”
He said Archbishop Advincula is a “silent worker” and is passionate in establishing mission stations in Christian communities in far-flung areas.
Meanwhile, Bishop Sim, who heads the Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam, will become the first cardinal from the Island of Borneo.
Considered one of the youngest and smallest “dioceses” in Southeast Asia, the Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei is a steadily thriving Church with growing spiritual activities in its communities.
The Catholic faith was brought to Brunei by Franciscan missionaries in 1587 but the local Church was only established in 1997.