Cardinal Capovilla receives his ‘red hat’

Elderly cardinal was unable to travel to Rome

The last of 19 new cardinals elevated by Pope Francis on February 22 at St Peter’s Basilica has received the red biretta of his new role.

The former Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla, who is 98, was unable to attend the Rome consistory due to ill-health, but was named along with his fellow prelates by Pope Francis.

This week, the biretta was delivered to the prelate, who remains a hero to many Italians for his efforts during World War II to assist members of the Italian air force from internment in Germany.

A former personal secretary to Pope John XXIII, having served him as Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Cardinal Capovilla has been a driving force in the late Pontiff’s cause for canonisation. And, although formally retired since 1988, the cardinal was actively involved in preparing many of the events which marked the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, established by Pope John XXIII, and continues to work towards the April canonisation.

Being 98, Cardinal Capovilla is not eligible to vote at conclave, and is one of three of the new cardinals falling into this category. Being over 80, Cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar of Spain and Cardinal Kelvin Edward Felix of St Lucia are also without a vote.