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New cardinals: mgr. Tirona (Bolivia), “I can’t believe it yet, I am the son of a miner and a campesino, but above all I’m an humble person”

“Unbelievable news. I can’t believe it yet”. These are the first few words spoken by the new Bolivian cardinal Toribio Ticona Porco, emeritus prelate of Coro Coro. In an interview with the Bolivian news agency Fides, mgr. Ticona says about himself: “I am the son of a miner, I am a campesino, but above all I am a humble person”. And he adds: “Pope Francis likes me a lot, even if I don’t know why”. The new cardinal sent a first greeting to the Bolivian population, calling them above all to “thank God for this appointment”, then he addressed “his campesino brothers and miners” to explain that the time has come to “work for the unity of our land, for the Church and the State to join forces, with no grudges”.

Born in 1937, mgr. Ticona is over eight years old already so he cannot be a voting cardinal. However, he will be the only Bolivian member of the Sacred College. Last year, as he turned eighty, he said about himself: “I worked as a shoe-shiner, I sold newspapers, I have been a miner, and now I am a bishop. I thank for the Lord for all this and I don’t expect anything else from life, only that it may take me when my time comes”. In a tweet, Bolivian president boliviano Evo Morales warmly addressed the new cardinal: “A nice surprise, a fair, accurate appointment. My respect and admiration for my brother, the bishop Toribio Ticona, now a cardinal, whom I know to be a great server not only of faith but also of the people forgotten in poverty. Together we will keep working”.

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