…by Anura Guruge
Prior related post:
Changes To Cardinal Creating Consistory Rites: More Details — Jan. 11, 2012.
Cardinal Creating Consistory November 2010 — Background, Process and Format — Oct. 16, 2010.
Pre-1969 Consistory Videos From YouTube — Located By Fr. John — Jan. 12, 2012.
Click to watch YouTube video from 1958. You will see option to see other consistory-related videos.
In yesterday’s post which talked about Paul VI’s (#263) April 29, 1969, cardinal creating consistory I talked about how post-Vatican II reforms kicked in at that consistory though I am not sure exactly how many of the changes were adopted at that the first of the new-style consistories. So, what I am going to do is to START documenting as much of the pre-1969 formats as I can and then go back and try to work out what changes happened when. So, this is the start of process – another ‘mini-series’ à la ‘Cardinal Stories‘ — think of this as the ‘history of how consistories changed’. I will use all the data I gather to piece together exactly what happened, when, to whom.
Click to buy a used copy from Amazon (though it, at U.S. 19 cents + shipping may be well beyond your allocated budget for buying books).
What I am documenting today (with some minimal extrapolation of my part to clarify some issues) is from Glenn D. Kittler’s 1960 book ‘The Papal Princes‘ [A History of the Sacred College of Cardinals]; Kittler (like me being roving professional writer) whose work appeared in Reader’s Digest, Catholic Digest and wrote a weekly column for U.S. and Canadian Catholic newspapers called ‘The New Apostles’. To be honest, his style, grasp and narration isn’t that great, but he has it down in paper and I want to cull the salient features from what he documents (rather haphazardly) in his pages 341 to 345.
> Cardinal designates notified that they are to be created (on such-and-such a day) and those not in Rome told to arrive in Rome a few days prior to the start to take up residence at a College, monastery or with friends.
> The cardinals are expected to get their new wardrobe in order during this time.
> A messenger from the Secretariat of State will visit them, formally, and notify them, officially, that they are indeed cardinal designates and when they should arrive at the Vatican for the initiation of the creation process.
> The cardinal designate starts receiving visits from diplomats, prelates, dignitaries, friends and family.
Day 0 (the so called ‘Secret Consistory’)
> This would be an ‘Ordinary Consistory‘ attended by those Cardinals that can and the Cardinal Designates. Since this was called the ‘Secret Consistory’ it is unlikely that any ‘outsiders’ were invited to attend. During the first part of this consistory, the pope, per original intent of consistories, will discuss important Church matters and issues with the cardinals present — the designates expected just to be silent observers (more on this ‘keep your mouths closed’ convention later).
> An official, most likely the Secretary to the College of Cardinals, will recite out loud the names of the designates that are to be created. [[This needs to be refined. This list would have been read to the seating cardinals BEFORE the designates were notified. This is one of the steps that could be out of step.]]
> The existing cardinals, together, accede to this list by bowing their heads in silence. (I have kind of extrapolated this part, because I have read about it before. As with most things papal, there is no prescribed mechanism whereby cardinals can express dissent or even reservations. So this, the signifying of assent, is purely a ceremonial step.)
> Now each designate, in turn, approaches the pope, kneels, (pays quick, silent homage) and has placed on his head the red, square, 3-peaked biretta. [Until it was overturned by John XXIII (#262), who himself had availed himself of this honor when nuncio to France, the heads of state for Italy, France, Spain and Portugal to request the honor of presenting the red biretta to newly created cardinals from their country or the nuncio to their country.] (Cardinals can only wear their biretta on specific, prescribed occasions. When not been worn it is supposed to be kept, on display, at the entrance to the Prince’s private residence, on a table, flanked on either side by a candle – and I assume that red candles are favored.)
> The designates at this stage are created.
> Once all the new cardinals present have been processed, the pope will announce whether he is creating any others in pectore.
> The new cardinals are given red zucchettas.
> The Secret Consistory and the consistory related proceedings for the day conclude once the zucchettas have been distributed.
Day 1: Sistine Chapel
> This is another ordinary consistory, attended by all available cardinals, now including the new created ones. But, this one is not restricted just to cardinals (and Vatican officials). At the pope’s discretion (of course) there will be invited guests — typically local dignitaries, heads of state (or designates), diplomats, prelates, Vatican officials and clerics.
> The new cardinals sit in designated seats.
> The three ‘ranking’ cardinals (most likely the senior-most in terms of precedence from each order of the College) sit to the right of the altar.
Each new delegate, in turn, approaches these three, kneels and take the Cardinal’s Oath — that includes their pledge to shed blood in defense of the Church (and pope).
> Following the oath, they approach the pope who will be seated at his throne — surrounded by his court. Each new cardinal kisses the popes cheek and hand. They then embrace, in turn, all of the cardinals created prior to this consistory, in order of their precedence.
> The new cardinals then prostate themselves in front of the pope; attendants completely covering their heads with their red capes as a symbol of their humility. (See above video.)
> While they lie prostrated, an attendant brings forward their cardinal, red galeri and holds them over their covered heads. The pope intones the creation prayer.
> The new cardinals return to their seats in the order in which they had been created (the first leading the others) — sans the 30-tassle red galeri held over their covered heads.
> The Te Deum hymn of praise is sung.
> The pope followed by the cardinals leave the Sistine thus concluding this consistory.
> The new cardinals return to their residences in Rome and issue formal statements of gratitude to the pope.
> The new cardinals receive well wishers at their respective residences.
> A Vatican messenger visits each new cardinal bringing with him that cardinal’s galero (from earlier in the day) as well as communique stating any and all curial posts, including memberships in congregations and commissions, assigned to that cardinal. [Since the loss of the Papal States, in 1870, cardinals stopped wearing their galeri (which Kittler refers to as ‘Pontifical Hats’) in public; the galero, which is to be kept at their private residence, next making an appearance on the top of their coffin.]
Day 2 (‘The Opening of the Mouth’ Secret Consistory)
> This is another no-public invited, ordinary consistory. Attended by all the new cardinals and all of the others that can do so.
> Prior to this consistory, the newly created cardinals are not permitted to make any pronouncements in their capacity as cardinals.
> At the start of this consistory the pope gives them authority to henceforth participate as cardinals — especially in consistories, providing advice to the pope.
> Then each new cardinal received his cardinal’s ring plus the title to his new Roman property.
So, that per Kittler was the process from 1870 to 1969. I need to research other documents and refine this description. I notice that there is no mention, whatsoever, of a Mass.
This format, as we say in IT, does not scale; i.e., it will not work when the volume (numbers) increase. There is way to much kissing, embracing and prostrating. Once I refine the pre-1969 format I will compare and contrast it to today’s ‘assembly-line’, chop-chop, move along format.