Pope John Paul II formally elevated 23 new cardinals from six continents on Friday, including a long-imprisoned Chinese bishop whose appointment was denounced by Beijing's Communist government.
The protest over Bishop Ignatius Gong Pin-Mei of Shanghai was a new setback for the Vatican's efforts to mend ties with China.The sufferings endured by Gong, 89, and two other cardinals jailed under Communist regimes set the tone for the pageantry-filled ceremony at the Vatican's Pope Paul VI auditorium.
More than 7,500 people rose and clapped as the frail, diminuitive Gong knelt before the pope to receive his red cardinal's hat.
"To serve and give your life for your brothers and sisters to the point of shedding your blood: this is the charge that is solemnly entrusted to you this morning," the Polish-born pontiff said.
"These are not mere conventional words: some of you know that very well."
The pope departed from the program to plead for an end to violence in Yugoslavia, and to urge negotiations between the Yugoslav government and Croatia and Slovenia. The two republics declared independence this week, prompting a government crackdown.
The 23 new "princes of the church" included two Americans, Archbishop Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles and Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua of Philadelphia.
Gong was imprisoned for 30 years in China for refusing to denounce the church hierarchy in Rome. John Paul first named him a cardinal in 1979, but kept the appointment secret. He was released from jail in 1985, and left the country three years later. He now lives in Stamford, Conn.