by Anura Guruge
Refer to the ‘Consistory‘ TAB right at the top, above the banner (↑↑), for all the pertinent links, including all of the various cardinalabili lists and consistory statistics.
By long held tradition each newly created cardinal is presented with a cardinal’s ring by the pope to symbolize the tight bond between a cardinal and the pope. It is this cardinal’s ring that the faithful kiss when they greet a Prince of the Church. Each pope, typically, chooses the image depicted on the outside of the cardinal’s ring — thus personalizing these rings to make them specific to each reign. Normally the pope’s coat of arms is also etched into the inside of the ring — as a secondary form of customization.
The image, so far, use by Pope Benedict XVI (#266) for his cardinal’s ring is a modern depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus, with Mary and John to each side. This article by Boston.com, featuring Fr. John’s favorite cardinal, confirms this depiction and even includes a close-up of the bearded cardinal’s ring (reproduced here with thanks and attribution to Boston.com).
[Provided by Louis Epstein on January 1, 2012: From page 189 of PASSING THE KEYS, 'After 1967...The cardinal's ring, which for centuries had been set with a sapphire,was reduced to a simple band of gold.'
So have these bands really not been so simple,with the custom designs? Or were Paul VI's rings plain?]
The article from Rome recommended by Fr. John, which for reasons best known only to them, refers to cardinals as ‘Senators of the Church‘, is telling us that the new rings will be in the shape of a cross. Read the article.
That the rings have already been ordered got me thinking.
Anybody who has bought an engagement or ‘nookie’ ring for a lady knows that size is a big concern. Unlike with buying bras for the same, with rings you can’t usually solicit ‘hands-on’ help from the female sales assistants in gauging the right size.
So what does this mean in terms of the new rings for the new cardinals — in particular, WHEN are they sized?
Yes, of course, once the rings are made, they can be quickly sized — so there is plenty of time during the conventional 1-month lead time, i.e., from the times the names are announced to the date of the actual consistory. This is what would make most sense. The cardinal-designates will each be asked to provide their ring sizes by a particular date to ensure that the jeweler can have the rings individually sized in time — the rings usually presented to the cardinals the day after the consistory at a Mass.
What I am wondering about is when the cardinal-designates are actually notified that they are to be created. For example have they ALREADY been told and been asked to supply their ring sizes? Prior to the November 20, 2010 consistory, my contacts in Sri Lanka, kept on telling me the Archbishop had been told to make travel arrangements to be in Rome for November — and this was well ahead of the October 20 announcement.
If the February consistory is indeed to be on Saturday, February 18, 2012, the announcement would be expected on January 18, 2012. That is just over 2 weeks away. If I go back to the November 2010 timing, and what I was hearing from Sri Lanka, the presumptive cardinals have already been told or will be shortly. So, that was where the thoughts about the ring sizes led me. When are they asked to supply ring sizes. I doubt that the curia keeps the ring sizes of bishops on file — mainly because ring sizes can change with corpulence and age — afflictions well known to bishops.