The Moroccan foreign affairs minister led a delegation to participate in a ceremony in which Pope Francis made the Rabat archbishop a cardinal.
Rabat – A Moroccan delegation has attended the “consistory” ceremony in the Vatican in which Pope Francis made the archbishop of Rabat, Cristobal Lopez Romero, a cardinal.
The delegation, led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, delivered a message from King Mohammed VI to the pope during their participation in the consistory on Saturday, October 5.
The King said Lopez Romero’s installation as cardinal “enriches in the long term the convergence of [himself and the pope] on the ideals of active faith, living together, compassion, co-knowledge and service to the most deprived.”
Bourita added that the “Cardinal will certainly know, within the College of Cardinals, how to carry not only a message of faith, but also a message of openness and co-knowledge.”
The Moroccan delegation included Morocco’s Minister of Islamic Affairs Ahmed Toufiq and the Moroccan ambassador to the Vatican, Rajaa Naji. The ceremony they attended marked the installation of 13 new cardinals.
Pope Francis appointed Lopez Romero, a Spaniard, in December 2018. He was then ordained as the new archbishop of Rabat in March 2018. He succeeded Archbishop Vincent Landel, who retired.
Born in 1952, Lopez Romero became a priest in 1979 in Barcelona. The new archbishop has a vast knowledge of Moroccan culture, having worked in Morocco since 2003. The Spaniard also served in Paraguay from 1984 to 2002.
The promotion of the archbishop of Rabat to the honored position of cardinal comes “in the wake of the Pope’s historic visit to the kingdom.”
The royal message reiterated the King’s satisfaction with the visit of Pope Francis to Morocco in March.
Bourita described the visit as historic by its “symbolism, its course, and its results.”
Pope Francis has issued several statements to express gratitude for the warm welcome he received in Morocco.
A week after his visit, Pope Francis said, “Last Saturday and Sunday [March 30-31], I completed an Apostolic Journey to Morocco, and I thank His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the other authorities, for their warm welcome.”