by Anura Guruge
Refer to the ‘Consistory‘ TAB right at the top, above the banner ((↑↑)), for all the requisite links, including those for the February 18, 2012 consistory.
That there were to be two changes to the hitherto observed protocols at the February 18, 2012 cardinal creating consistory, the most obvious being that the new cardinals will get their cardinal’s ring along with their red biretta, was already reported here on January 8, 2012.
Today, January 10, 2012, the Vatican Information Service (VIS) daily bulletin had more details of the exact changes and the rationale for them. You can read the VIS bulletin here.
Per the Vatican, the primary motivation for changing the rites was to provide, and to now use their exact words: ‘a liturgical setting to a process which, of itself, is not part of the liturgy.‘ They go onto say that they wanted to make sure that: ‘anything that could give rise to the idea of a “cardinalatial Sacrament”.‘ Per them: ‘The creation of new cardinals had to be inserted into a context of prayer, …‘ and ‘Historically speaking, in fact, consistories have never been considered as a liturgical rite but as a meeting of the Pope with cardinals as part of the governance of the Church.‘
All of that makes sense. But, if you now read the VIS, you will encounter a confusing reference to a 1969 Paul VI (#263) ‘modification’, which at least in the English, goes like this (with the emphasis mine): ‘the modified form of the celebration WAS first used by Paul VI in April 1969.‘ There is another reference further down to 1969: ‘ …. take a shorter form, AS USED in the 1969 rite, …‘.
The way I read this, it is implying that we are reverting back to the form used by Paul VI in 1969. The 1969 was Paul’s 3rd (of six). But, I am not sure. I haven’t had a chance to check what Paul did re. changing consistory rites.
From what I can gleam, three (3) major changes have been made, viz:
1/ Combing the awarding of the rings with that of presenting the birettas and ‘titles’,
2/ Modification to the collect and concluding prayers, and
3/ Shortening of the ‘Word of God‘ proclamation.
The Vatican, however, makes no mention that the homage to the pope by the first pope will no longer take place during the consistory. Maybe they have rolled that into either ‘2/’ or ‘3/’ above. They do mention that the concelebrated Mass the following day will begin with the first named homage to the pope.
At this stage it is best to refer to the prior process that I described in this October 16, 2010 post.
In the prior rite, as I described it, there was Step 1, which was the liturgical greeting’ and Step 11, which was the ‘Prayer to the Faithful,’ a recitation of the ‘Our Father,’ and a final blessing by the pope. From what I gleam, the 1969 versions (or ‘formula’) will be used for these steps. The Vatican does say this about the 1969 version: ‘they are particularly rich and derive from the great Roman tradition of prayer.’ The Vatican goes onto add: ‘The two prayers, in fact, speak explicitly of the powers the Lord gave to the Church, in particular that of Peter. The Pope also prays directly for himself, that he may carry out his duties well.‘
Is this another oblique nod (or even reference) to the pope’s ‘Latin Mass‘ hobbyhorse? I could be wrong, but there is something about this whole announcement, that sounds as if the pope wants to roll back ‘modern’ innovation — except any and all of that innovation could have ONLY come from one and only one source, John Paul II (#265)!
The ‘shortening of the ‘Word of God’ proclamation’ appears to refer to Step 4/:, i.e., The pope now delivers a homily, known as the ‘Liturgy of the Word.’ The Vatican says that, yet again, they will revert to the shorter 1969 version, with a single Gospel reading (Mk 10, 32-45).
The Vatican points out that prior to 1969 the public consistory was followed by a secret consistory; i.e., a consistory consisting only of cardinals (and a few Vatican officials). The newly created cardinals were given their rings at the secret consistory. Since there will be no secret consistory per se it makes sense for the rings to be given to the new cardinals when they go up to the pope to receive their red hat and ‘title’.
The Vatican does point out that these changes simply the consistory process. They have also mentioned ‘shortening’. So, basically these changes will simplify and shorten the consistory process — per my estimation cut-out at least an hour from the proceedings. It might just be a coincidence, but coming hard on the heels of the levitating platform, non-exclusive ad limina visits, midnight Mass at 10pm and the bypassing of Mexico City, I, for one, get a sneaking feeling that this is another attempt to help the aging (and most likely ailing) pope cope with his duties. I could be wrong. What do you think?
The constant reference to Paul VI and 1969 also does not sit well with me. Also those Vatican words ‘Roman tradition of prayer‘. Is that all code for pre- and post-Vatican II.
Again, your comments please. (You can e-mail them to me with instructions as to how you want it posted.) Thanks.