On June 28, Thursday, Pope Francis gave the Catholic Church 14 new cardinals during the Ordinary Public Consistory. The newly-created Cardinals received the biretta — a crimson-red square cap with three ridges. Among these was Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts who said that he was surprised at his nomination. With this creation, the total number of Cardinals has now reached 226.
In his homily, the Pontiff told the new cardinals to shun the “quest of honors, jealousy, envy, intrigue, accommodation and compromise.” He added, “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?”
“When we forget the mission, when we lose sight of the real faces of our brothers and sisters, our life gets locked up in the pursuit of our own interests and securities. The church’s authority grows with this ability to defend the dignity of others.”
Cardinal Coutts told Vatican News that the churchmen in Pakistan are very close to their people. “For us, in a poor country like Pakistan and in a small, young Church, historically, where we all, as bishops or archbishops, spend a lot of time with the people. And thank God we don’t have that lifestyle which takes us above the people. We try to be with the people most of the time.”
Cardinal Coutts expressed uncertainties about being able to spend time with his people after his new designation. “So to be a cardinal, I don’t yet know what the implications are. But I fear there will be a gap. I won’t be able to give so much time to the people,” he told Vatican News.
Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts was born on 21 July 1945. On January 9, 1971 at the age of 25 years, he was ordained as a Priest in Lahore. Later on May 5, 1988 at the age of 42, he was appointed as Coadjutor Bishop of Hyderabad in Pakistan. On September 16, same year he was ordained as a Bishop. On September 1, 1990, at the age of 45, he succeeded the Bishop of Hyderabad.
At the age of 52, on 27 June 1998, he was appointed as Bishop of Faisalabad. On January 25, 2012 at the age of 66 he was appointed a she Archbishop of Karachi.Cardinal Coutts command over several languages including English, Italian, German, French, Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi. He is the second Pakistani to be raised to the rank of a Cardinal.