The Discalced Carmelites in Malta are rejoicing that one of the five Cardinals created by Pope Francis on June 28th belongs to their religious family. In fact Bishop Anders Arborelius, OCD of Stockholm Sweden is a Discalced Carmelite. The writings of St Therese of the Child Jesus moved him to join the “Terezjani” as they are known in Malta.
The new Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm is Sweden’s only Catholic bishop and the first native Swede to hold the post since the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s. Just over 1 percent of Swedes are registered members of the Catholic Church
The other new cardinals come from Mali, Spain, Laos and El Salvador.
“It’s really a historical event and I think it’s typical of Pope Francis that he looks to those parts of the world that are far away – other cardinals were named for the first time for Laos and for Mali – so he wants to encourage those minorities scattered all over the world and show that they are important in God’s eyes and in the eyes of the church even if they are very small realities,” the cardinal told Vatican Radio on May 22.
In surveys, less than one-third of Swedes describe themselves as religious and even fewer participate regularly in church services. Sweden is one of the most secularized countries in the world.
Born in Switzerland Sept. 24, 1949, to Swedish parents, he was raised in Sweden and converted to Catholicism at the age of 19. He entered the Discalced Carmelites just two years after becoming Catholic, took vows in 1977 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1979. He was ordained bishop of Stockholm in 1998. He was the first Swede to head the church there since 1522.
Anders Arborelius at the ceremony in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
Pope Francis with, from left, Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako, Mali; Juan Jose Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain; Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden; Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, Apostolic Vicary of Pakse, Laos; and Gregorio Rosa Chavez, Auxiliary of the dioceses of San Salvador, El Salvador. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP