Apr 302011

by Anura Guruge

The March 18, 2011 post of Cardinal Burke sporting a red, 15-tassel (on each side) galero proved to be very popular. We should also not forget the November 30, 2010 post about the giant, motorized red galero float prepared for the newly created Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don by the ever resourceful and creative folks of Sri Lanka. [Disclosure: I was born in Ceylon.]

We visited St. Patrick’s in New York City last Thursday, and given the interest folks had shown in seeing pictures of the suspended galeros of dead cardinals, I asked my wife to take some pictures of the four, cardinal galeros at the Cathedral.

The four galeros suspended from the vault of the East-end apse (a.k.a. sanctuary), behind the altar, belonged to:

1/ Cardinal John McCloskey (born 1810, created 1875, died 1885, bio),

2/ Cardinal John Murphy Farley (born 1842, created 1911, died 1918, bio),

3/ Cardinal Patrick Joseph Hayes (born 1867, created 1924, died 1938, bio), and

4/ Cardinal Francis Spellman (born 1889, created 1946, died 1967, bio).

The gallero worn by Cardinal Spellman is said to have belonged to Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (created 1929) — who went onto become Pius XII (#261) in 1939. Spellman was one of his creations.

In 1969, post Vatican II, a papal decree, by Paul VI (#263), eliminated the practice of cardinals receiving a galero when created — deeming that it was too elaborate and would detract with people identifying with their lord cardinal. The faithful in New York adhering to this papal edict stopped presenting galeros (galeri) to their cardinals — though the papal edict only eliminated new cardinals receiving a galero at their creation consistory as opposed to a blanket ban on cardinals receiving galeros from their fans. Subsequently, Cardinal Terrence Cooke who died in 1983 and Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor who died in 2000 did not (in theory) have galeros that could be suspended in public. Hence, just the four galeros of the four cardinals who died prior to 1969.

The apse vault is about 80′ to 85′ feet above the floor. The cables used to suspend the galleros appear to be 15′ to 20′ in length. So they are still way up there and the lighting is subdued. Hence the quality of the pictures.

Four useful links about St. Patrick’s: Wikipedia, St. Patrick’s Cathedral Web site, the architecture, and Fordam University description.


St. Patrick's Cathedral by Anura Guruge

The Altar, facing West. The apse with the galeros is behind this.

Apr 292011

80 year old Cardinal Camillo Ruini

by Anura Guruge

80-year old Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General for Rome from 1991 – 2008), on the eve of John Paul II’s (#265) May 1, 2011 beatification, has claimed that a number of cardinals, at the 2005 conclave, put forward a signed petition calling upon the yet to be elected new pope to fast track the beatification process. Ref. 1. Ref. 2

Cardinal Ruini should NOT have disclosed this!

It explicitly violates conclave protocol — and not just the well known blanket requirement about conclave secrecy.

A petition of this sort, trying to bind the new pope to a course of action requested by the cardinals, is called a capitulation.

The first capitulation took place at the 1352 conclave. [Pages 108 to 115 of ‘The Next Pope’ book.] Innocent VI (#200), the pope elected at that conclave, ignored the capitulation, stating that it was illegal, though he was one of the cardinals who signed it!

After this, capitulations occurred fairly regularly at conclaves — even though they were all promptly ignored by the new pope.

In 1692, after 300 years of this charade, Innocent XII (#243) banned capitulations.

The 2005 conclave that Ruini is talking about was governed by Ven. John Paul II’s 1996 Universi Dominci Gregis Apostolic Constitution. (See this post.)

Clause 82 of Universi Dominci Gregis alluding to capitulations state: “82. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.

A petition of the sort talked about by Ruini falls into this category … since it tries to get the next pope to commit to a course of action.

Then there is also the whole issue of cardinal electors abstaining from distractions during the conclave. Gregory X (#185), who wisely instituted the whole notion of sequestered conclaves, said this in his seminal Ubi periculum constitution that laid out the initial dictates for future conclaves: The cardinals are to devote all of their time to hasten the election, without taking any time out to deal with any other business – unless there is, by general consent, an urgent matter related to defense of the Church or the Papal States.’That fast-tracking John Paul II’s beatification was an urgent matter crucial to the defense of the Church would be quite a stretch — even for cardinals.

Even if this petition initiative actually happened during the conclave, Ruini should not have divulged it because it now makes the other cardinals and Pope Benedict XVI (#266) look bad!

It is possible that Cardinal Ruini misspoke or was misinterpreted. The term ‘conclave’ might have been loosely used to mean sede vacante. That cardinals talked about fast tracking John Paul II’s beatification immediately following his death was widely known. Raising a petition prior to the conclave would not have violated any protocols. So …


Apr 242011

Click to see John Paul II's Last Will and Testament per the Vatican

by Anura Guruge

On May 2, following his May 1, 2011 beatification, the remains of Bl. John Paul II (#265) will be re-interred within St. Peter’s Basilica in the Chapel of St. Sebastian, beneath the altar — above ground. See this post for more details and even a picture.

A transcript of John Paul II’s last will and testament, published on April 7, 2005, is available from the Vatican.

This would violate an explicit, handwritten margin note by John Paul II, on March 13, 1992, on his will that categorically says: burial in the ground and not in a sarcophagus, 13 March 1992.

John Paul II's explicit instructions for burial in the ground

As many know John Paul II was indeed buried in the ground, in bare earth, in the grotto under St. Peter’s Basilica — in an alcove previously occupied by Bl. John XXIII’s (#262) coffin before they were moved after he was beatified. [See picture of original tomb below.]

While it is indeed customary to move the remains of popes to the main body of the Basilica once they are beatified, removing John Paul II’s coffin from below ground and having elevated above ground seems somehow wrong — though this was, of course, approved by his friend, the current pope.

What makes this doubly wrong is that it is the second thing in his will that has been overridden. As with burial in the ground, he explicitly asked for his personal notes to be burned — by Dziwisz. Dziwisz has publicly admitted that he did not burn them — despite the precise, unequivocal instructions in the will.

John Paul II's specific instructions that his personal notes be burned.


Then there is the whole issue that he wanted to be buried in Poland. But, that (mysteriously) is not stated in the will. See ‘The Next Pope‘ book page 79.

Ven. John Paul II's original tomb, in bare earth per his wishes.


Apr 232011

International Space Station

by Anura Guruge

On Wednesday, May 4, 2011, the 84-year old Pope Benedict XVI (#266) will call the International Space Station (ISS), now orbiting ~220 miles above the surface of the Earth, to talk to the two Italian astronauts, viz. Paolo Nespoli (54) & Roberto Vittori (46) who will be on board at that time. This is being portrayed as the first call by a pope to outer space, though I think that this needs caveats just to be fair to the past popes since most people, including popes, do assume that God is somewhere up there in space.

[Bl. John XXIII (#262) aside re. ‘God above’: Italian Domencio Tardini [1888 – 1961], substitute Secretary of State (under Pius XII (#261)) since 1935 (refusing a cardinalate in 1953), became a cardinal (Dec. 1958) and Secretary of State (Nov 1958) soon after John XXIII became pope in October 1958. That they liked and respected each other was no secret. But, John heard through the legendary Vatican grapevine that Tardini would often refer to him, when talking to the staff in the Secretariat as ‘The one up there.’ So, at one of their frequent meetings, the pope tells Tardini: “Caro Tardini, let me set you right about something. ‘The one up there’ is the Lord God of us all. I am only the ‘The one on the fourth floor.’ I beg you, please don’t throw confusion into the ranks.” Page 268 of Lawrence Elliott’s delightful 1973 ‘I Will Be Called John,’ SBN: 0-88349-002-1]

Paolo Angelo Nespoli

Paolo Nespoli has been aboard the ISS since December 2010. Roberto Vittori will be taken up to the ISS by the Space Shuttle, Endeavour, on (or around) April 29 (depending on weather) — this being Endeavour’s final mission, having previously made 24 trips up there and back.

Roberto Vittori

This is the first time that two Italians have been in space together.

For a list of other technological firsts when it comes to the popes.



Apr 232011

Leo XIII filmed by American Mutoscope and Biography Company from the Web site: www.thispublicaddress.com/depression/timeline.html

by Anura Guruge

1/ First pope to appear on film: Leo XIII (#257), [1878 – 1903] in 1896.

2/ First pope to make a radio broadcast: Pius XI (#260), [1922 – 1939] c. 1931.

3/ First pope to have a ‘full-length’ movie made about him: Pius XII (#261), [1939 – 1958], in 1942 the movie called ‘Pastor Angelus‘ (angelic shepard) per the Malachy prophecy for that papacy.

4/ First pope to speak on TV: Pius XII (#261), [1939 – 1958].

5/ TV cameras first allowed into the Vatican: 1961 to film a day in the life of John XXIII (#262).

6/ First pope to fly in an airplane (when pope): Paul VI (#263), [1963 – 1978].

7/ First pope to use the Internet: John Paul II (#265), [1978-2005]

8/ First pope to do a question-and-answer (Q&A) on TV: Benedict XVI (#266), [2005 ->] on Good Friday, April 23, 2011

9/ First pope to make a call to space (at least to talk with other humans): Benedict XVI (#266), [2005 ->] on May 4, 2011 to two Italian astronauts on the International Space Station.

Benedict XVI's first TV Q&A. Click for article and video from the U.K. 'The Telegraph'. The pope famously admits he has no answer to suffering.

Apr 072011

Related posts:
1/ Pope Benedict XVI becomes the 7th oldest pope (since 1400), July 19, 2010
2/ Youngest popes (since 1400), June 24, 2010
3/ Length of the past papacies, July 28, 2010

by Anura Guruge

We do not have reliable (or complete) ‘anniversary’ dates, in particular their birthdays, for the first 204 popes. Complete records are only available as of 1400, i.e., starting with Innocent VII (#205) 1404 – 1406, and even then the birth dates of the first four, Innocent VII to Eugene IV (#208), are based on estimates. The only pope to have abdicated since 1400, viz. Gregory XII (#206), who did so to help bring to an end the Great Western Schism, happens to be the second pope in this list of four with uncertain birthdays.

One thing that becomes clear is that there is no discernible ‘pattern’ as to a preferred age at which popes get elected — though the expression ‘a fat pope is followed by a young pope,’ definitely seems to have a role when it comes to age. Lets start with an overall snap shot showing age elected, reign length and age at end for all 62 of the last popes.

<< click on charts for an enlarged version >>

Ages of the last 62 popes by Anura Guruge

Age of the pope when elected by Anura Guruge

Notice that there have only been three (3) instances when successive popes were the same age when elected, the most recent of these being Paul VI (#263) an John Paul I (#264). In reality there are only 18 instances where successive popes are within 5 years in age of each other, plus or minus, at the time of election. See below.

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