Oct 212010

by Anura Guruge

Numerous posts (and even more comments) have been posted as of the October 20 announcement of the November 20, 2010 cardinal creating consistory — Consistory 2010. Please scroll down through the blog to see them all. Also, please do not forget Consistory 2010 Central set up here on October 5, 2010.

Archbishop Paolo Sardi, currently Vice Camerlengo

Archbishop Paolo Sardi, currently Vice Camerlengo

Italian Archbishop Paolo Sardi [dob Sept. 1, 1934] the 8th named cardinal-presumptive on October 20, for the November 20, 2010 consistory, has been the Pro-Patron of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (‘Order of Malta’) — an ancient Christian Military Order ‘descended’ from the famed Knights Hospitallers (of the Holy Land during the crusades) that is known for its humanitarian medical care work.
[The ‘Pro-‘ means acting or temporary and will disappear when Sardi becomes a cardinal, the Patron post typically only assigned to cardinals.]

Paolo Sardi, however, is also the Vice-Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church [i.e., the deputy to the Camerlengo who becomes the chief executive during a sede vactante].

The Vice-Camerlengo is #2 in the Apostolic Camera, which is headed up the Camerlengo. As with the Camerlengo, the Vice-Camerlengo is appointed (sans an election) by the pope.

But, by tradition the Vice-Camerlengo is not a cardinal. There is a good reason for this. In the days when the Holy See ruled the Papal States (and Rome), the Vice Camerlengo was invariably the Governor of Rome. In this capacity, one of his tasks was to control access to the conclave from the outside.

This is a function that the Vice-Camerlengo is still expected to perform. While the Camerlengo is inside the conclave, acting as the ‘Ring Master in Chief,’ the Vice-Camerlengo is supposed to be outside the doors monitoring and controlling those who enter the conclave. Yes, enter the conclave. At a minimum, the Master of Papal Liturgical Ceremonies and his two Masters of Ceremonies enter the conclave prior to the start of each (up to 2 ballots) voting session to conduct the pre-voting religious rituals and to hand out the ballot papers. So, contrary to what most think, the doors to the Sistine are not sealed shut during a conclave. [Page 192 ‘The Next Pope’ book.]

Here is a post I wrote this May that talks about the Camerlengo, Vice-Camerlengo and Major Penitentiary in the context of a conclave. Read it if you want more details, especially since another of the cardinal-presumptives, Italian Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli [dob Aug. 6, 1935] has been the Major Penitentiary since June 2, 2009.

I made a quick comment on a vice-Camerlengo being named a cardinal last night, and Louis Epstein, who of late has been very active on this blog, responded as follows. So, I will conclude with Louis’ comment, since he says it all: Yes,the text of my cardinalabili file actually cites Sardi’s holding the office of vice-camerlengo as an argument against his being elevated … despite his being named to a job that expects a cardinal (pro-Prefects may be a thing of the past,but pro-Patrons are not). Yet the Vatican bulletin on the announcement listed his non-cardinalitial job and not his cardinalitial one. I expect he will step down as vice-camerlengo on the day of his elevation, as da Costa Nunes (1880-1976) did in 1962. Perhaps the most notable vice-camerlengo however was Ettore Cunial, who was born in November 1905 and retained the job from 1975 until his retirement in October 2004, all normative retirement ages notwithstanding.

Thank you Louis. That was excellent.

  One Response to “Cardinal Vice-Camerleno Paolo Sardi? Vice-Camerlengo Is Usually Not A Cardinal”

  1. There are three functionaries associated with the Holy See who retain their functions during the conclave and participate in it,and have deputies outside:the Camerlengo,who has the Vice-Camerlengo,the Major Penitentiary,who has the Regent of the Penitentiary,and the Cardinal Vicar General of Rome,who has the Archbishop Vicegerent.The last-named position has been vacant since June when the incumbent (whose predecessor is now the cardinalabile Archbishop of Turin) was transferred to Salerno.

    I wonder how things would settle during a prolonged conclave,with the deputies running things.

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