May 302010
 

Precedence (or seniority) within the College of Cardinals is artificial and basically to do with status and standing, particularly so when it comes to ceremonial purposes — given that as of 1962 all cardinals, unless explicitly exempted by a pope, have to be consecrated bishops (and as such are, in the main, distinguished senior prelates to begin with). Precedence thus determines factors such as the order in which ballots are cast during a conclave and who gets to go ahead of whom when paying homage to a newly elected pope.

Precedence is based on the three ‘orders’ of cardinalate, viz. bishops, priests and deacons – in descending order, starting with the cardinal bishops, with the Dean and Sub-Dean of the College (who are always cardinal bishops) being the most senior.

Each new cardinal is created within one of the three orders based on his then ecclesiastical function. Cardinals appointed from dioceses, around the world, typically bishops or archbishops, are made cardinal priests. Curial officials and eminent theologians are created as cardinal deacons. The most senior of curial officials (in some cases retired) are assigned to one of the six suburbicarian sees – thus making them (along with any Eastern Rites Patriarchs) cardinal bishops.

Since the early thirteen century there has, however, been a preferment mechanism, known as jus optionis (right of option), which enabled the senior most cardinals to move up to a higher order when titles became vacant (or even move to different titles within the same order) – subject, of course, to papal approval. This enabled cardinals gain precedence, or in the case of a transfer within an order, to be associated with more ‘desirable’ title – ‘desirable,’ in this case, most likely having to do with the potential revenues/assets, status or location of a title.

The pope, however, has always had the power and the right to promote cardinals, unilaterally, independent of jus optionis. A curial cardinal deacon if appointed as Archbishop (or possibly the Patriarch of Venice or Lisbon) will most likely, possibly even ‘automatically,’ be elevated to being a cardinal priest — with a fairly good chance that his existing deaconry will be elevated, for the duration of his tenure, pro hac vice into a title. [Refer to this post for more on pro hac vice elevations.] Italian Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (b. June 2, 1943) provides a recent example of this. In February 2001 he was created a cardinal deacon while holding a curial post. Two months later he was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. In May 2006, Benedict XVI named him the Metropolitan Archbishop of Naples [Italy]. He was at the same time elevated to a cardinal priest, his deaconry, Dio Padre misericordioso, elevated to a title pro hac vice.

John XXIII Changed The Rules In 1961
In 1961, John XXIII (#262), with his Ad Suburbicarias Dioeceses motu proprio, overrode the jus optionis scheme that had been in place since 1586. Per Ad Suburbicarias Dioeceses the senior most cardinal priest or deacon no longer had the right to opt for a vacant suburbicarian see [i.e., to seek promotion to be a cardinal bishop]. Henceforth, the filling of a vacant suburbicarian see would be a prerogative of the pope, who could do so by creating a new cardinal or by promoting any of the existing cardinals, irrespective of their seniority.

John, with his characteristic flair, demonstrated the new norm by immediately promoting Cardinal Giuseppe Antonio Ferretto to be a Cardinal Bishop [of the see of Sabina e Poggio Mirteto] – though he, having been created a cardinal priest just three months prior, was the most junior of the cardinals.

This decree by John is still the prevailing norm.

This was another one of John’s very incisively astute moves. It ensured that he, and hopefully his successors if they too were so inclined, could globalize the highest echelons of the College. Between 1900 and 1961 there had only been ONE non-Italian cardinal bishop, that being France’s hugely talented and bearded Eugène Tisserant [1884-1972]. Since John’s ruling, 11 of the 25 cardinal bishops have been non-Italian.

In total there have been 60 cardinal bishops since 1900. 48 have been Italian. So John’s change to jus optionis has made quite a difference.

Of these 60 cardinal bishops since 1900, none were created cardinal bishops to begin with, though the pope had always had the option of creating cardinal bishops, provided that there were vacant suburbicarian sees, even prior to the 1961 edict. The last time a pope appeared to have created a cardinal bishop was in April 1449 when Nicholas V (#209) made his one-time rival, antipope Felix (V), the Bishop of Santa Sabina, when the antipope renounced his title and retracted his prior condemnations. [It is possible that there have been other cardinal bishop creations since then, but I have yet to find them, in what, at best, has been somewhat cursory, haphazard research. Come on, there is only so much I can look into at any one time. Working on about five parallel streams right now.]

In 1914, Pius X (#258), had made a smaller change to jus optionis – albeit this time overriding a right that had existed from the original thirteen century rules. As of 1914 there would be no inter-see translations for the cardinal bishops – albeit with Ostia always being assigned to the new Dean, per the by then well entrenched tradition. Pius X also pooled together the assets and revenues of all seven suburbicarian sees and decreed that these would be centrally managed via the Congregation for the Propagation of Faith. The suffragan (‘auxillary’) bishops, tasked with administering these sees as of 1910, were each assigned an annual of remuneration of 6,000 lire (~US $1,200 per then exchange rate). The remaining income was then divided into seven parts, the Dean getting two of these (for his two sees) and the other five bishops one part each.

Meteoric Elevations Prior To John XXIII’s 1961 Rule Change
The first half of the twentieth century appears to have been a great time to have been a cardinal. The maximum size of the College, per Sixtus V’s (#228) landmark 1586 Postquam verus constitution, was being maintained at 70 (until John XXIII serenely dismissed this cap at his very first consistory in 1958). To have less than 65 cardinals was not unusual during this era. Pius XII (#261), in particular, was unusually parsimonious when it came to creating cardinals, only creating 56 during his nearly 20 year (235 month) papacy. << Read this article >> At the end of Pius XII’s reign there were only 53 cardinals.

The near constant vacancies within the College during this period permitted cardinals to exploit jus optionis to rise very quickly through the ranks, particularly if you were an Italian cardinal living in or around Rome. [In 1939 35 of the 62 cardinals were Italian].

Italian Cardinal Gennaro Granito Pignatelli di Belmonte was created a cardinal priest in November 1911. He opted to become a cardinal bishop, four years later, in December 1915.

Italian Cardinal Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani was created a cardinal priest on June 30, 1930. He opted to be a cardinal bishop on June 15, 1936.

The above mentioned French cardinal Eugène Tisserant went from cardinal deacon to cardinal bishop in just under 10 years between 1936 and 1946.

Italian Benedetto Aloisi Masella was created a cardinal priest in February 1946. He opted to be a cardinal bishop in June 1948. He was a cardinal priest for but 28 months.

Italian Clemente Micara was created a cardinal priest on February 18, 1946. He opted to be a cardinal bishop, of Velletri, but also retaining his original title (at the indulgence of the pope), on June 13, 1946. He was a cardinal priest for 146 days!

Jus Optionis In The 1983 Code Of Canon Law
The jus optionis rulings of Pius X and John are now reflected in Canon 350 §5 & §6.

Per this Canon, cardinal priests may transfer to another title and cardinal deacons to another diaconia – based on seniority and papal approval.

A cardinal deacon with ten full years of tenure can request to be made cardinal priest – with his precedence within the new order being based on his original day of creation. This option of getting promoted to the presbyteral order [i.e., priestly] is very popular and has been widely used – cardinals, since 1961, no longer having the right to seek promotion to the episcopal [i.e., bishopric] order.

Suffice to say that as of 1961 elevation within the College has been more sedate and more cosmopolitan.

The Evolution of Jus Optionis
The major milestones when it comes to jus optionis are as follows:

> Early thirteenth century: the original rules come to be.

> 1555: Paul IV (#224), with his Cum venerabiles constitution, specifies new rules for the Dean and Cardinal deacons.

> 1586: Sixtus V (#228), with his far-reaching Postquam verus constitution, lays out more stringent requirements for cardinal deacons and their preferment – possibly, in part, to atone for the creation of his fourteen year old grand-nephew who as far as can be seen was never ordained, though he went on to become a cardinal bishop

> 1731: Clement XII (#247) formulated the precedence structure for the College.

> 1914: The Pius X change discussed above.

> 1961: The pivotal John XXIII change discussed above.


> 1965: Paul VI (#263) dictates that Dean and Sub-Dean should be elected from within the ranks of cardinal bishops by the cardinal bishops rather than it being based on seniority. See reference ‘2/‘ at the bottom.

> 1984: The new Code of Canon Law with Canon 350 §5 & §6 as discussed above.

The Initial Thirteenth Century Rules
Whenever a cardinalate was vacant, the most senior of the cardinals residing in or around Rome could opt for that title. In the case of cardinal bishops, they could, per this scheme, opt for one (and only one) transfer of bishopric during their lifetime – albeit with Ostia always reserved for the Dean.

Cardinal priests and cardinal deacons could use this option either within their order or, more significantly, to opt for a title in a higher order.

 

Role of cardinals in papal elections, culled from Anura Guruge's 'The Next Pope' book << click to enlarge >>

These rules made sense within the context of that time, bearing in mind:

1/ The College of Cardinals was still rather new, having only come to be as of 1150.

2/ It was only between 1139 and 1179 that all cardinals, irrespective of their order, got the right to vote in papal elections.

3/ The notion of non-resident titular cardinals had only really come to pass as of 1163.

It is, however, also worth noting that it this juncture, of the cardinals residing in and around Rome, only the cardinal bishops would have been consecrated bishops. Many of the cardinal deacons were unlikely to have been priests.

 

1555 Paul IV & 1586 Sixtus V Changes
Paul IV deemed that the most senior [i.e., earliest consecrated] cardinal bishop residing in or around Rome would automatically become the new Dean of the College of Cardinals (whenever that vacancy arose).

This constitution also modified jus optionis rules so that a cardinal deacon with ten years of tenure would get precedence when it came to preferment over cardinal priests created since his creation – provided that his ‘opting up’ would not reduce the number of cardinals deacons in the College to less than ten.

Sixtus V, in 1586, deemed that one needed to be at least 22 years old in order to be created a cardinal deacon and, moreover, be prepared to be ordained within a year of their creation. If they did not satisfy the ordination criteria, they would (in theory) lose their appointment. Upon being ordained, a cardinal deacon would be re-assigned as a cardinal priest (with a new title) – but only when a new cardinal deacon was created to backfill the resulting vacancy. [As in 1555, there appears to have been an underlying concern about depleting the ranks of cardinal deacons.]

The jus optionis preferment rules were also updated to state that cardinal deacons must have ten years of tenure before they could request a vacant suburbicarian see [i.e., be a cardinal bishop]. However, the cardinal protodeacon [i.e., the earliest created], provided that he was 30 years or older, could opt for a suburbicarian see if it became vacant for a third time since his creation.

In 1731 Clement XII formulated the now familiar rules of precedence within the College. Seniority within the two lower ranks is based on the date of creation (even after a jus optionis preferment to the order of priest), whereas in the case of the bishops, it is determined per the date of episcopal consecration.

Then came the 1914, 1961 and 1984 updates.

In 1965, Paul VI (#263), decreed that seniority would no longer be the basis for who would be the Dean and Sub-Dean of the College of Cardinals when these posts became vacant (though this long standing tradition had been incorporated into the 1917 Code of Canon Law). Instead, when a new Dean or Sub-Dean was required, the cardinals bishops would elect one from among their ranks – independent of seniority, albeit subject to the person elected being approved by the pope.


Also refer to these four related articles:

1/ Precedence Among Cardinal Bishops – Rationalization << click here >>


2/ Precedence Among Cardinal Bishops << click here >> Reference here to the 1965 ruling for the election of the Dean and Sub-Dean.

3/ Does Cardinal Re really have precedence over Cardinal Arinze. << click here >>

4/ Rome, you have a problem re. cardinal bishop precedence << click here >>


For more details and background please consult Anura Guruge’s February 2010 book ‘The Next Pope‘ << click here >> Free online previews from Google and Amazon available.

  25 Responses to “College of Cardinals, The Jus Optionis Preferment Rules”

  1. Hi. Further to my calculations, the next “top” of the list of cardinals bishops, who would be chairing a conclave now, is the Italian cardinal Sebastiano Re.

  2. Stefano,
    Please explain HOW you come up with Cardinal Re.
    Stefano, are you familiar with the Clement XII 1731 ruling on precedence. If not, please read this: http://popes-and-papacy.com/wordpress/?p=221 or http://papam.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/precedence-among-cardinal-bishops/.

    Unless the 1731 ruling was changed it is Cardinal Arinze who is next in line after the Sub-Dean, he became a bishop ahead of Re.

    So, PLEASE check and explain. MANY thanks.

    Anura

  3. Hi Anura.

    My calculation is as simple as obvious. I have the list of the precedence order in the 2005 Conclave: the first four Cardinals Bishops were (according to the order): RATZINGER Card. Joseph, SODANO Card. Angelo, LOPEZ TRUJILLO Card. Alfonso and RE Card. Giovanni Battista. Now: 1) Ratzinger is the current pope and won’t take obviously part to the next conclave; 2) Sodano is over-aged; 3) Lopez Trujillo is dead.
    Consequently, the top of the under-80 Cardinals Bishops is now Giovanni Battista Re.
    Hope this is enough. All the best,
    Stefano.

  4. Stefano,
    Once again THANK YOU.
    I appreciate the logic in your reply. Everything you say is true.
    But, I am reminded of a song from the 1970s by Ian Matthews (who my son is named after), ‘If it was so simple‘ [http://www.discogs.com/Longdancer-If-It-Was-So-Simple/master/201963].
    Stefano, I am a stickler for details, a glutton for punishment, a slave of facts and a striver of perfection.
    Stefano, MY PROBLEM is that I can’t find any documentation as to when Clement XII’s 1731 rule for precedence was changed.
    It is simple as that.
    Clement, as pope, edicted a set of rules for precedence. We know that these rules still applied in 1913.
    I am MORE than willing to believe that Clement’s rules were changed sometime after 1913.
    All I want to know is WHEN (and by whom). This is NOT unreasonable.
    It would have taken papal action to change it. Who changed it.
    I then run into the typical problem I have encountered since day one. Folks who THUMP the table saying these are the facts … without showing me the basis for it.
    I am MORE than happy to say that Re has precedence over Arinze. Just PLEASE show me when the rules got changed. I want to document it.
    That is all.
    Thank YOU. Thank YOU.

  5. Hi Anura,
    though I am not an able researcher, I did what I could to help you. I couldn’t find out the answer, but I think I can give you a clue to let you work this problem out.
    First of all: the current law ruling everything about cardinals is the Codex Juris canonicis promulgated by John Paul II in 1983. The canons regarding cardinals range from 349 to 359, but unfortunately they don’t say anything about the precedence rules among cardinals bishops. Thus, evidently, there must be a rule from the past still valid.
    I therefore looked for it and I found the Motu Proprio signed by Paul VI in 1964, called “Sacro Cardinalium Consilium”. This is the act by which that Pope ruled the nomination of both the Dean and the Sub-Dean by election and not byseniority any longer. In that act we read as follows:
    «Placet videlicet Nobis, ut in posterum duo haec officia non iam ipso iure ii Cardinales adipiscantur, qui antiquiores sint promotione ad aliquam Sedem suburbicariam (cf can. 237 § 1)», which roughly means: «We like that in future these two offices will not be authomatically obtained by those cardinals who are older for promotion at some Sedem suburbicariam (that is, cardinal bishops)», and then follows, between brackets, the reference to can. 237 par. 1.
    Which Canon? Of course, the one valid at that time, previously to Pope John Paul II’s one, that is the 1917 edition.
    Do you have it? I have looked for it, but couldn’t find. Most probably in that paragraf (237 § 1) of the 1917 edition of Codex juris canonicis, you’ll find the rule – still valid, since it hasn’t been changed by the current canon – about precedencewithin cardinal bishops.
    Sorry I can’t go further. All the best,
    Stefano

  6. Thank YOU, THANK YOU.
    Very useful.
    I can get hold of the 1917 Canon in Latin. My Latin is very, very BASIC. But, you seem an expert.
    I will get it to YOU later today. OK?
    Thank you.
    You may see that I have repeatedly said that I THOUGHT that the rules got changed in the early 1960s. I had thought 1961 or 1962. Lets look into this. Very useful.
    All the best.
    Anura

  7. Dear Stefano,
    As promised here is Canon 237 para. 1 & 2 in Latin:
    Can 237 §1. Sacro Cardinalium Collegio praeest Decanus, idest antiquior promotione ad aliquam sedem suburbicariam, cui tamen nulla est in ceteros Cardinales iurisdictio, sed ipse primus habetur inter aequales.
    §2. Vacante decanatu, ipso iure succedit Subdecanus, sive is tempore vacationis sit praesens in Curia, sive in sua suburbicaria dioecesi commoretur, sive absit ad tempus ob sibi commissum munus a Romano Pontifice.

    Stefano, I am fairly familiar with ‘Sacro Cardinalium Consilium‘ (or ‘Consilio’ as I know it). You had me confused by saying ‘1964.’ It was February 11, 1965.

    Stefano, I had already addressed this 1965 motu proprio in my original post about precedence among Cardinal Bishops. Please see:
    http://papam.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/precedence-among-cardinal-bishops/

    Stefano, it is also on page 121 of my book. You bought a copy right? [[SMILE, SMILE]] If not [[sad face, sad face ]] look it up online, using Google or Amazon from here:
    http://popes-and-papacy.com/NextPopeBook.htm

    Dear Salvador, my old friend, also has a write up … at year 1965:
    http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/guide-xx.htm

    Stefano, PLEASE read the Latin. Maybe you will see something we missed.

    As far as I can see, I don’t see any change to the 1731 rule in 1965.

    I have to THANK YOU for this statement. ‘unfortunately they don’t say anything about the precedence rules among cardinals bishops. Thus, evidently, there must be a rule from the past still valid.’

    To me, that statement is so OBVIOUS. But, many don’t seem to understand that.

    Good start. THANK YOU.

    Talking of Salvador, I am very disappointed that Salvador Miranda, a supposed expert on cardinals, is NOT willing to pursue this. I have asked him multiple times. He now has MULTIPLE serious errors in his site. His precedence listing for 18th century conclaves, straight after the 1731 ruling, are WRONG! But, he refuses to change them! We know that the 1731 ruled applied from 1731 to at least 1913. So … That is OK. He has done sterling work documenting stuff for all of us. I would have been lost if not for his work. So I am always grateful for what he has done for all of us.

    Thank YOU. Let US get to the bottom of this.

    Anura

  8. Stefano and others,
    Stefano like you I have read, re-read, re-re-read the 1983 Canons relating to cardinals.

    There is 355 that definitely alludes to precedence IF the Dean and Sub-Dean are not there. That is Canon is:
    ‘Can. 355 §1. The cardinal dean is competent to ordain as a bishop the one elected as Roman Pontiff if he needs to be ordained; if the dean is impeded, the assistant dean has the same right, and if he is impeded, the oldest cardinal from the episcopal order.’

    The OLDEST. That we assume means OLDEST in terms of age. Right?

    If it was Seniority it would say ‘SENIOR’ as the Code does in the very NEXT LINE when referring to the ‘The senior cardinal deacon announces the name of the newly elected Supreme Pontiff …’

    I am WILLING to agree that the OLDEST Cardinal Bishop, per the 1983 Code, is the most senior after the Sub-Dean.

    But that is still NOT Cardinal Re.

    Bingo!

    Here is something to think about. Nobody has worried about this in 200 years. They have gone with the flow. Now I am RAISING it as an issue.

    Think. Thinking is such a joy. My third greatest joy. THINKING. Think Free, Or Die.

    Anura

  9. In particular Stefano BUT all others too, please,

    Check out this new post looking at the cardinal bishop precedence issue with specific details as to the August 1978 conclave:
    http://papam.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/does-italian-cardinal-re-really-have-precedence-over-nigerian-cardinal-arinze/

    Cheers
    Anura

  10. Hi Anura,

    yes, I’ve read your new post, and found it very interesting. Moreover, I can confirm you that the word “antiquior” in the Can. 355 §1 actually means “oldest”, not “senior”. You’re right.
    So I don’t see the solution – your theory about people in the Vatican forgetting of the 1731 rule might be even correct, who knows?
    Should I find something out, I tell you.
    Cheers,

    Stefano

  11. Stefano,
    As ever THANK YOU.
    I just discovered an interesting inconsistency. John Paul II’s 1996 Universi Dominici Gregis says, in Clause #90, ‘Senior Cardinal Deacon’ to consecrate a new bishop rather then OLDEST per Canon Law!
    Bingo.
    I think the curia has NO CLUE as to what the rules are for Cardinal Bishop precedence.
    Bingo.
    Yes, I am going to write a couple of posts.
    All the best. Look it up.
    Thank you.
    Anura

  12. Stefano and others, please …
    Check this out:
    http://papam.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/rome-you-have-a-problem-re-cardinal-bishop-precedence/
    [[ I am chuckling. Can I start taking bets? ]]
    All the best.
    Anura

  13. Stefano,
    Thanks to another of your kind countrymen, this one from Torino, we have solved the 1731 mystery.
    The English translation was wrong! There was no mention at all about episcopal consecration. Just elevation to the episcopal order — i.e., becoming a cardinal bishop.
    So, PLEASE read this:
    http://papam.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/1731-cardinal-bishop-precedence-we-have-the-answer-english-translation-is-wrong/
    Thank YOU.
    Anura

  14. […] College of Cardinals, The Jus Optionis Preferment Rules » Popes … […]

  15. Thanks Anura (and thanks my fellow countryman too!).
    All the best – and greetings from Italy.

    Stefano

  16. Stefano,
    Good to hear from you. WE have a slight language ‘debate’ — involving YOU!
    Stefano, remember this from June 9 (below): Moreover, I can confirm you that the word “antiquior” in the Can. 355 §1 actually means “oldest”, not “senior”.
    Andrea, very politely, is disagreeing with you. He says it means the OPPOSITE. ‘Senior’ not ‘oldest.’
    Now, we in English know ‘antique’ which must come from ‘antiquior.’ We would say old, but old — senior. WOW.
    So much fun. PLEASE help if you have ideas.
    P.S. Are YOU the world famous tenor from Bresica?
    Anura

  17. We’ll, that’s involving. I just assume that “antiquior” and “senior” (both latin words) are different. Otherwise, why having two words, if they meant the same?
    I’ll check as well.
    As for the tenor, no, unfortunately I don’t sing – I might be the only Italian totally incapable to sing in tune… :-)
    All the best,

    Stefano

  18. Hi again Anura (and Andrea).
    I’ve checked in the Latin-Italian dictionary. Maybe we’re all right, because the difference is very slight.
    Antiquior is the comparative of “Antiquus”, which means literally “very very old” (ancient, we would say), and – please note, that’s important – is intended to be the opposite of “novus” (= “new).
    Senior is the comparative of “senex”, meaning just “old” (not “very” old), and is intended to be the opposite of “juvenis” (= young).
    So, to sum up the two words respectively mean “far more old” and “more old”. But what really differ is the starting point. Old in front of “new” in the first case and old in front of “young” in the second.
    I think that applied in the cardinal precedence all this means that “antiquior” is a cardinal intended within the whole of his canonic curriculum vitae – i.e. a cardinal having been a bishop and a former priest for a much longer time than others. On the contrary, “senior” might be a cardinal which is no longer “young” – so to say – in his order.
    You see, the ancient languages (especially Greek, but also Latin) where much more profound in such implicit details than the modern ones.
    All the best and thank you for bouncing me back to my beloved Latin. :-)
    Stefano

  19. Stefano,
    This is excellent. Thank YOU.
    I have asked Andrea to look at your comments.
    I also posted this: http://papam.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/us-english-translation-of-1983-canon-355-differs-from-ukirish-english-translation/
    You are quoted.
    I contacted both societies. Amuses me no end. NOBODY had checked this stuff.
    Andrea and I are having a LOT of fun going through UDG. We are finding more and more stuff that needs to be clarified.
    Do YOU know the Tenor of your name from Bresica?
    I can’t get to your Web site …
    All the best. Thanks.
    Anura

  20. This may have been mentioned or answered elsewhere but what happens if all 6 cardinal bishops are over 80 when a conclave is convened?

  21. Hi,
    Thank you for ALL the comments. Much appreciated. I was out all afternoon and evening yesterday. Went to see a ‘Revels’, set in a French Mediterranean port, with traveling musicians from the East, in Boston. Short on time AGAIN today. Just got on, after my daily run. But, will be leaving again soon for much of the day.
    BUT, I wanted to answer this one, because I already researched it and wrote about that scenario in the new Appendix F of ‘The Next Pope 2011′.
    Yes, very possible that all 6 cardinal bishops might be over 80 when a conclave occurs (though possibly not the next). Not a problem. Typical College precedence prevails. The Oriental Patriarchs now step in, if any of those are under 80. Not a problem either, UNLESS they elect a NON-BISHOP as pope! That is not a problem either. I think, I could be wrong, that many Catholics, clerical and lay, might BALK at the thought of their pope, the Bishop of Rome, having been consecrated by a prelate with a beard, wearing a funny hat. But, this can be easily circumvented IF it were to ever occur (without the Patriarch having get a shave and change hats). The Senior Most Cardinal Priest steps in and consecrates the new pope. Q.E.D.
    All the best. Good to have you on board. Re. your ‘screen name’. Any significance. I let it go. Wouldn’t your real first name, which has a nice ring to it, be better. I have to say, though I am the ONLY one that sees it, your e-mail cracked me up. Yes, I have got a FEW e-mails about this blog from ….@IRS.gov! That was FUNNY because it was FRIEND, who got so perturbed when he saw that there were some printing errors in my latest book that he e-mailed me from work without switching to his normal yahoo.com e-mail. Most U.S. are DISCOURAGED from using their work e-mails. That is JUST a heads up in case you haven’t noticed. Don’t worry. Nobody gets to see your e-mail.
    Thanks. Cheers. I will try and respond to the others tonight.
    Anura

  22. I imagined that that might be the case. I hope you enjoyed the show. I am supposed to start dieting agian and therefore start walking, not an experience that I particularly relish, running is out of the question. I toyed with the idea of using my name but since I do this from work I decided against it. Waldo Lydecker is a character in Laura a 1944 film which is one of my favourites of all time. Old american films are my main interest in life.The situation here is the opposite. We are prohibited from using our private email accounts on work computers. Gmail, hotmail and all the others are actually blocked on our office networks supposedly because they add the risk of viruses. This is obviously an anachronism from the pre laptop era since now we can access those sites when we take our computer at home. The end result is that we end up using our work email accounts for everything.

  23. Malta must be the ideal place to perambulate. I have never had the luck to visit. The nearest I have been, not counting Italy, is Israel and Tunisia. Yes, I am supposed to be dieting too. Do you get pecans, a type of nut, in Malta. Over here they make pecan pie. To me it is ambrosia. I had never experienced such exquisite, concentrated sweetness in a food until I tasted pecan pie and I come from a family noted, in Paris and Ceylon, for heavy, rich, puddings and cakes. Well for Christmas we had cheesecake, pecan pie and a fruit cake. We still have leftovers. Each time I eat a piece of the pecan pie I know that I am giving up 5 years of my life. But to me it is worth it.
    Yes, I did look up ‘Waldo Lydecker’ and saw the movie reference. Interesting about computer and e-mail use. All the best. Happy New Year. Thanks.
    Anura
    P.S., The show was good. The theater was like a Cathedral. The inside was gorgeous. Good music. Very cultural. A few very good looking girls too.

  24. I dont think any nuts grow here apart from peanuts, all others are imported and although not a traditinal sweet you occassionally find pecan pies in restaurants.I tend to go nuts about cakes that incorporate nuts, most nuts but I am particularly partial to almonds. Whwn I am in a bad nood if I eat anything with almonds in it or even just raw almonds my mood improves immediately. I don’t know whether it is a placebo or they really contain some substance that improves your mood. Another tranquilizer for me is tea, lots of it.

    Happy new year to you too.

  25. I am an almonds addict too. Eat it by the handful. I TRY to stay away from cake. My willpower is legendary. I can resist anything but temptation. The fruit cake I am trying to finish does have nuts. My favorite is cashew (and as far as I know they don’t make a cashew pie though that too probably is possible with enough syrup and sugar). Walnuts too. I will eat peaNUTS but I do NOT like peanut butter or anything that has peanut butter in them, including M&Ms. My kids, all born in the US, to American mothers, and as such weaned on peanut butter find this amusing and useful. My two youngest will go out of there way to get CANDY with peanut butter in them so that I won’t eat it.
    I think nuts contain good chemicals. The problem is their fat content.
    What kind of tea do you like. Ceylon tea?
    Have a great day. Happy New Year. All the best.
    Anura

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