Oct 162010

Consistory Central for November 20, 2010 Consistory

by Anura Guruge

‘Consistory’ comes from the Latin consistorium, i.e., sitting together.

role of cardinals in papal elections from 'The Next Pope' by Anura Guruge

Role of cardinals in papal elections from 'The Next Pope' by Anura Guruge

Cardinals, more or less in the context we know them now (albeit sans the College), came to be in 769 at a Roman synod convened by Stephen III (IV) (#95). Click on chart at right.

In 853, at another Roman synod, this one convened by Leo IV (#104), and attended by 67 bishops, it was decreed that henceforth all the cardinals (all of them, without exception, then resident in or around Rome) would meet with the pope, on a weekly basis, at the papal palace (then the Lateran Palace) to discuss Church matters. This was the genesis of consistories. It was the logical forum at which to announce the intent to create new cardinals and to actually create them. Cardinal creation was thus but a special instance of a general consistory.

Sixtus ‘the iron pope’ V (#228), a Franciscan and ex-inquisitor general, between 1586 and 1588, made a concerted attempt to reinvigorate the Holy See (after he had ruthlessly subdued the Papal States). Among his reforms: he specified 70 cardinals as the maximum size of the College of Cardinals, barred illegitimates and those that were biological fathers from being cardinals, as well as implementing, via an Apostolic Constitution Immensa (1588), the now familiar structure of the Roman curia. The centralized curial administration, with cardinals running most, if not all, dicasteries, eliminated the need for the weekly consistories. This is the current norm.


From the Vocabulary section of 'The Next Pope' book by Anura Guruge

From the Vocabulary section of 'The Next Pope' book by Anura Guruge

Cardinal creating consistories  are but a special case of ordinary consistories.

It is not uncommon for a pope to convene at least one ordinary consistories per year that does not involve the creation of new cardinals. Benedict XVI (#266) held a ordinary consistory for ‘some causes of canonization’ on Saturday, February 21, 2009. He held another one, this time for ‘several causes of canonization’ on Saturday, March 1,  2008. There was another in 2007, on Friday, February 23, 2007, again for ‘several causes of canonization’ in addition to the last cardinal creating consistory on Saturday, November 24, 2007 at which he created 23 new cardinals, 5 of whom were over 80.

By tradition, cardinal creating consistories are announced on a Wednesday, during or after the pope’s general audience, or on a Sunday, after the pope’s customary Angelus devotion.

The last cardinal creating consistory, on Saturday, November 24, 2007 was announced on Wednesday, October 17, 2007.

The prior cardinal creating consistory, on Friday, March 24, 2006 was announced on Wednesday, February 22, 2006.

So, typically the announcement comes 5 to 6 weeks ahead of the cardinal creating consistory.

Painting used by Vatican for the 2007 consistory announcement

Painting used by Vatican for the 2007 consistory announcement

The ‘announcement’ per se consists of three distinct parts: a preamble homily by the pope, a list of the prelates that will be created and a formal notification as to where the consistory will be held, the dress code and who may attend. If there are to be in pectore ‘appointments’ this could be noted, though the pope could also wait to do so until the actual consistory. There have been instances of would be cardinals named in the announcement dying prior to the consistory — in one case at least just prior to the start of the consistory.

Existing cardinals attending the consistory are expected to wear their red cassock, white, lace Rochet and Mozzetta. The cardinals to be created are requested to be in choir dress — as are any other prelates, i.e., patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots etc., that intend to attend.

The last two consistories were held in or in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. There is a special Consistory Hall in the Apostolic Palace but this, though fairly spacious, is not big enough for contemporary cardinal creating consistories. Cardinal creating consistories typically held in the morning, between 10 and 10:30. Cardinals are requested to gather 30 minutes prior to the designated start time.

In 1991, prior to his June 28, 1991 consistory [his fourth at which he created 24 cardinals], John Paul II (#265) established a new set of protocols for cardinal creating consistories. These are the ones that are still in use. The sequence of events are as follows:

1/ Initial liturgical greeting.
2/ Pope reads out the formula for creation which includes the names of the cardinals being created. The names are read out in the order they appeared in the consistory announcement. This order determines precedence within the College, with the first one named at the consistory deemed the most senior of that consistory — and by convention the new cardinal most favored by the pope.
Per a 1904 ruling, that overturned one from 1431, the new cardinals are bona fide as of this moment, and can participate in a conclave if they had — even though they have not as yet received their ‘insignia.’ This, with modern jet travel, is really not an issue anymore. But, in the past there were delays between new cardinals getting named and them receiving their ‘insignia.’ These days it all happens at the same time, unless one is unable to attend the consistory because of health or ‘political/safety’ issues.
3/ The first named new cardinal, the de facto most senior of the newly created, then pays homage to the pope, in words, on behalf of all the new cardinals.
4/ The pope now delivers a homily, known as the ‘Liturgy of the Word.’
5/ Each new cardinal then professes his faith (Profession of Faith) and takes an oath of fidelity.
6/ Each new cardinal approaches the pope and kneels in front of the pope to receive their iconic red biretta. As he places the red biretta on a cardinal’s head, the pope intones in Latin: ‘This red biretta as a sign of the dignity of the office of a cardinal, signifying that you are ready to act with fortitude, even to the point of spilling your blood for the increase of the Christian faith, for peace and harmony among the people of God, for freedom and the spread of the Holy Roman Catholic Church’.
[The notion of wearing red hats, to signify this willingness to shed their blood for the Church, emanates from Innocent IV‘s (#181) First Council of Lyon [France] in 1245. The authority to wear more red, in particular the red zuccheto came to be in 1464 as a part of a peace-offering by Paul II (#212) for reneging on a conclave capitulation. Page 110 of ‘The Next Pope‘.]
7/ While kneeling, the new cardinal is also told of the title (in the case of Cardinal Bishop or Cardinal Priest) or deaconry (in the case of a Cardinal Deacon, unless it is being assigned pro hac vice to a priest) that they have been assigned.
Of ‘late’ new cardinal bishops are those promoted from within the College, as opposed to ones newly created. But, there is nothing in Canon Law (which is very light on cardinal bishops) or papal lore to preclude a pope creating a new cardinal bishop provided a suburbicarian see was vacant. I know, without having done any major research, of three who were created cardinal bishops, straight off the bat; viz. Amedeo di Savoie in 1449, Bernard de Castanet in 1316 and Niccolo Alberti in 1303. There is probably more. I just haven’t looked. You can by all means help us out by going and checking.
8/ The pope hands the new cardinal a rolled up scroll, the ‘Bull of Creation,’ which formally documents the title or deaconary assigned to the new cardinal.

With thanks to 'The East Tennessee Catholic'

9/ The pope and the new cardinal exchange a kiss of peace.

10/ All of the newly created cardinals exchange kisses of peaces among them.
11/ There is a  ‘Prayer to the Faithful,’ a recitation of the ‘Our Father,’ and a final blessing by the pope.

This concludes the consistory per se, though another related ceremony follows the next day. The cardinals will typically now join the pope for lunch.

The next morning the pope will join the newly created cardinals to conclebrate Mass. During this Mass the pope will present each new cardinal with a ring that denotes: ‘the sign of dignity, pastoral care and the most solid communion with the See of Peter‘. As he places the ring on the finger of each new cardinal, the pope will intone, in Latin: ‘Take this ring from the hand of Peter and know that, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, your love for the Church is strengthened’.

It is expected that the Mass following the cardinal creating consistory will be a Cappella Papale at the Sistine Chapel. See October 13 posting.

These are worth looking at since they give you the true flavor of what to expect. There is also an intriguing photo gallery for each.

November 24, 2007 Consistory

March 24, 2006 Consistory

  28 Responses to “Cardinal Creating Consistory November 2010 — Background, Process and Format”

  1. Cardinal-Bishops are promoted from among existing Cardinals,there is never a creation as a cardinal-bishop,not for centuries.

  2. Good point, but there is nothing that says you can’t create one! If there is a vacancy, a pope, in theory, can create a cardinal bishop … BANG. I always cater for all possibilities, if permissible. As you yourself said, they USED to be crated. Used to be created … nothing that says they can’t. There never used to be a double barreled papal name either. They also thought that popes would always assume a new name. If they can, it can happen. Murphy’s Cousin’s Law.

  3. It would be interesting to research how many times the first newly named Cardinal, so-called favored of the Pope, has gone on to become the next Pontiff . . . (Last time it happened was Albino Luciani)

  4. So, now I peaked my own curiosity

    Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini †, Archbishop of Milano {Milan}, Italy; Age: 61.2; Created 15 Dec 1958, the future Pope Paul VI, elected 21 Jube 1963
    Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci †, Archbishop (Personal Title) of Perugia, Italy; Age: 43.8, Created 19 Dec. 1853 – The future Pope Leo XIII. Elected Pope 20 Feb. 1878

    Published (Previously a Cardinal In Pectore) in which he appeared also as first among the In Pectore:
    * Bl. Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti †, Archbishop (Personal Title) of Imola, Italy; Age: 48.6; Future Pope Pius IX, elected Pope 16 June 1846.

    I smell another table in the works for me!!

  5. I know of ONE off the top of my head. Montini. First named.
    Not sure about Albino. Will check. Very easy to do so.
    Just signed on. Went running. Absolute beautiful fall day.
    Thanks & Cheers.

  6. Great. Great.
    I am going through the comments sequentially. So I already told YOU Montini a minute ago. <>

  7. Father, when you are right you are right.
    Yes, Albino Luciani was the first named in the March 5, 1973 consistory. Bravo. Not sure whether I knew that. Now I do. THANK YOU.
    He was, however 89th created … whereas Montini was #1 with John.
    When you were checking the lists (which I assumed you did … Salvador’s … and it is his birthday tomorrow) … did you notice where Wojtyla came in?
    23 out of 27! 50th created.
    Thank you. Cheers.

  8. Supposedly Luciani’s first place in his consistory was due to his rank as Patriarch,a custom no longer observed (in recent consistories the first cardinal named has been a curialist elevated as a Cardinal-Deacon,thus actually following the Cardinal-Priests named in that consistory in usual precedence until the ten years are up and he can become a Cardinal-Priest and take his place ahead of them.The occasion on which Cardinal-deacons exercise their jus optionis is also termed a consistory,though not a consistory of creation).

  9. Do you have the list of those created cardinal bishops … as opposed to being promoted from within?

  10. I did a QUICK, cursory check.
    On Feb. 21, 2001 #1 was dear Re. C. Priest.
    On June 28, 1991 #1 was the literally peerless Sodano (of the 3 titles; that is more titles than poor old Hebblethwaite) C. Priest.
    So, after you get me a list of all those created cardinal bishops, could you please go back through the consistories and see when this curious DEACON ahead of PRIEST came to be ….
    and, if you could, emulating Father John, provide us with some pretty tables.
    I would go do the research … but dwarf planets beckon. Did you know Pluto (no, no. Not the Disney cartoon dog) was thought to be a moon of Neptune?
    Thanks. Cheers.

  11. I will work on tables on placement of future Popes in consistories. Luciani was named in first consistory after he became Patriarch. Patriarch’s do not necessarily come first. As you have mentioned, being 1st is the complete discretion of the Pope. It can be a Curialist, a Residential Archbishop or even a Eastern Patriarch.

    I am not using Salvador’s site for Consistory Data, though I did send him a birthday note, I am on his site regularly. I am using Catholic Hierarchy, copyright David M. Cheney. Incredible resource!

    Amazing how many Cardinals were named “In Pectore” in the 19th Century and previous. It seemed a general practice to be named so first and then announced at the next consistory. Have you ever come across any reasons for this practice?

  12. The 1983 and 1994 consistories were led by Maronite Patriarchs,1985,1988,1998,and 2003 by cardinal-deacons (as were 2006 and 2007).

    Created cardinal bishops are from centuries past,it would be a deep dig far back to find even one.

  13. I found three and listed them. Hoping you would find the others. One was 1449.

  14. Until the time of John XXIII there was a jus optionis for cardinal-priests to take vacant suburbicarian sees,so vacancies tended never to be there for consistories.

  15. So now a pope definitely could hold a suburbicarian see and allocate it at a cardinal creating consistory.

    The jus optionis in the 100 years prior to John XXIII was a RIOT! I started charting it but didn’t follow through. I did document SOME in my May 30, 2010 post. I found cardinal priests making it to cardinal bishop in 4 to 6 years. YOU should spend some time going through each preferment and documenting it. Just need to wade through Salvador’s site.


  16. I’m surprised that jus optionis wasn’t more regulated,e,g, the archpriest getting first dibs.But the culture certainly seems strong that the Cardinal-Bishops are an inner circle of veteran Cardinals.(But will any die before the ones who are electors all turn 80 in the next few years?)

  17. Any ideas WHY this ad hoc practice of naming a cardinal deacon ahead of the first cardinal priest, in some consistories, came about?
    Appears that if there is a VERY STRONG cardinal priest, as was the case with Re and Sodano, they do get named first.
    Naming a cardinal deacon first SEEMS a TOKEN — to avoid making a cardinal priest ‘#1’ — BUT that really doesn’t change precedence. The first named cardinal priest has relative seniority.
    WONDER how many first named cardinal deacons LIVED 10 years to seek preferment.
    Yes, I know it can all be looked up.
    Only a matter of time.
    THERE IS A TON of analysis to be done, just over the last 110 years, on cardinal creation trends. I don’t have the time. But, I know what needs to be looked at.

  18. The more I look at the lists, the more trends I see . . . Lists! Lists! Lists! If we are going to make so many lists, I see a book in the works: “Consistence and Inconsistency in Consistories!”

  19. So if a motley collection of unlikely Cardinals sit together,it it an Inconsistory?

  20. There is definitely a book BUT judging from the sales of The Next Pope not sure there will be any ROI.

    All of this comments has convinced me of ONE THING — there is a WEALTH of information to be researched, studied, analyzed and documented just in terms of cardinal creation and promotion since 1900. As I have documented, jus optionis alone was totally out of control till 1962. Also how the Cardinal Bishops were ‘selected’.
    Now … as to who got named first … rationales, patterns, exceptions.
    Also … all the selection politics. It was EASY until 1958. All the cardinals came from but 4 countries, 500 miles radius from Rome. [[OK, OK … I am making a point.]]

    Every morning I wake up THINKING that I will do some work on cardinals. IF I start entering the data into my spreadsheets and start crunching … we could have enough material for 10 books. But, I can’t justify it. It should be done by some kids who are trying to get their Ph.Ds. Other than dwarf planets, I have other things to do. Must spend some time studying Emerging Market bonds. As with new cardinals and papabili, the bonds that Brazil is issuing (for the Olympics work) and those of Argentina are supposed to be very promising. So … MAYBE … what you should do … is start making some tables on Latin American bonds. Check out TGEIX. That is, at present, my TOP PICK. [[ smile ]]


  21. Two points here.
    ‘unlikely’? But isn’t being a cardinal like being pregnant? There are NO DEGREES. You are either a cardinal or not — and you are cardinal (basically with life tenure, since the last resignation was in 1929). So where does the ‘UNLIKELY’ come in?

    ‘Motley’? Wow. Who determines that and on what criteria? Doesn’t being created, automatically (basically through divine intervention … I assume), raise you above motley? That got me thinking?

    Do you think the pope has to get the list of the new cardinals approved by superior? Can’t be e-mail. Too new. Fax? Please elucidate.

    P.S., Just talked to my father (following your question yesterday). He and I are PLANNING to write a book on Buddhism together. It, if done, will be about his 90th book! The premise is that he will answer questions posed by ME … and trust me, I am asking questions that are not easy. I am TRYING to convince Fr. John to do a similar book with me on Catholicism. Answer questions I pose. This could be one of them: ‘does the pope have to get approval … before he names new cardinals … but then we can even start asking bishops … curialist …?

    As far as I know THIS question has NEVER been ADEQUATELY answered. Vicar of Christ … etc. But does a pope have PLENIPOTENTIARY POWERS? When my father was the SL Ambassador in Paris and then in D.C., that was part of his title. Ambassador Extraordinaire, with Plenipotentiary Powers. To me that is the only way to go. Never sure …. whether a pope has it. My hero Mountbatten had it. But, you being American, probably have never heard of Mountbatten or Nehru. I met Jawaharlal. He came to dinner at our house in Ceylon, c. 1965. Still remember it. He glowed. Towered over me. I must have been ~12. I also met Yuri Gagarin. Same time frame. He came to Ceylon. My father was his ‘host.’ You probably never heard of Yuri either. No, he wasn’t a pope or cardinal — though he must have been close to God. He was about the same size as me! You had to be small to fit into one of those capsules.

    Got to go. Must pick #3 daughter. And work on dwarf planets.

  22. I have heard of Lord Mountbatten (I track hereditary peers as well as cardinals,apostles,and judges) and Jawaharlal Nehru (who died in 1964,was his visit a ghostly one?).And I’ve followed the space program since I can remember (my parents held me in front of the television for Shepard’s launch the year I was born,the earliest launch I remember is Gemini 6…I am a Life Member of the National Space Society and Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society).So will you be doing a research visit to Eris?

  23. I checked. I did say c. 1965. 1963. [Oct. 19. It was Oct. 15, 1962. I found his dated autograph in what was then my brand new autograph book made for me by my father’s brother, a book binder.]
    No. I am waiting for Eris to come and visit me.
    Though, given my life [[and YOU might not get this]] Makemake … because that reminds me of my life.
    I, born deprived, didn’t have TV. So we had to read about things or listen on radio. Yes, we got Pate news.
    Cheers. Writing up the AIU. Slightly less interesting than the curia.

  24. Velikovsky aside,I hope Eris has no visits planned,though I do take the occasional look at http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk for safety.

  25. Chkkk, chkkk, chkkkkk.

    Louis, at this rate we might have to chuck you out as a heretic. Of maybe Father John will have to exorcise you … virtually.

    How would a past planetary collision stack up with the Biblical account? Couldn’t have been the great flood? Plus … in … what is it … the last 7,000 years?

    Plus, shouldn’t YOU rely on the pope, his astronomer and ‘hot line’ to protect us rather than JPL. Aren’t those the folks that got metric mixed up with Imperial?

    So … YOU think … that this is how it will …. BIG BANG … and then ….

    Don’t worry. If Eris does plan a visit, it will take a very long time. Enough time to have plenty of consistories to make adequate number of cardinals for the big day.

  26. But that would delay your book on dwatf planets considerably.

    I note via Google that your father encountered the recent LDS Church president (during his time of de facto rather than de jure leadership)…now there’s a gerontocracy that makes the Curia look like seminarians!

  27. I noticed a comment about the last resignation of a Cardinal as occurring in 1929. What is the process and frequency for such resignations? Could the next Pope force cretins like Law to resign?

  28. I think it was 1927. See this post. Resignations used to be more common when there were more lay cardinals, cardinal deacons. We had some examples yesterday in the ‘Cardinal Kings’ post. Then there was also the famous Cesare Borgia, Pope Alexander VI’s son. Father made him a cardinal within 5 weeks of becoming pope. He resigned 5 years later. This pope should have forced that cretin to resign. He should be in jail, not the pope’s poor butler. Yes, the next pope could do so too, but I now fear that the next pope will be the last, the dreaded ‘Peter the Roman’ in the form of Dolan. Dolan most likely will make the cretin vice-pope! Thanks.

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