February 17, 2012. (Romereports.com)
The College of Cardinals is the body of the Catholic Church that is responsible for electing future popes. They also handle some of the most important work of the Catholic Church in and outside Vatican walls.
Their formal wardrobe is a red dress that's meant to signify a cardinal's willingness to shed their own blood, if it were necessary in their service to God. Cardinal Robert Sarah, from the African nation of Guinea, was made a cardinal in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He remembers his first consistory as a day of celebration but also as the first day of his new job. Card. Robert Sarah
“It's a day of joy and prayers above all, to be a cardinal is a commitment, it's also very much an honor, but a commitment to help the Holy Father and also participate in the life of the Church in a more responsible way.”
Generally, new cardinals are in charge of an archdiocese or head a department in the Roman Curia, but their main responsibility is to advise the pope.Card. Robert Sarah“A cardinal is a bishop, but closer to the Holy Father to help him with the serious problems in the Church and society. He's meant to be a consultant for any problem that concerns the pope, and helps in moving the Church forward. A cardinal is a co-worker, a collaborator of the Holy Father, but in a closer way than other bishops.”
The process of electing a Pope, called 'conclave' goes back to the 13th century.
Historically, only 120 cardinals can take part in the conclave. Cardinals who are over the age of 80, lose their right to vote in the election of a new pope.