by Anura Guruge
Three cardinals created in the early 17th century, viz. Cardinals Ciriaco Rocci (1581-1651), Cesare Monti (1593-1650) & Marcantonio Franciotti (1592-1666), are listed in ‘The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church‘ as having been created in pectore tacite — a distinction being made with other cardinals created (just) in pectore. This ‘tacite’ has since made its way to other Web sites that discuss these three cardinals, the first two created in pectore on November 19, 1629 and the latter on November 28, 1633.
‘Tacite’ means tacit, i.e., ‘silent.’
So ‘in pectore tacite’ means created in the breast (or heart) by the pope in silence. The silence part is redundant as of 1536 — and Pope Paul III (#221).
In 1536, with Paul III instituted in pectore creations as it is understood today, i.e., the name of the ‘created’ only being known to the pope until the pope opts to make it public at a later date. Prior to Paul III there were indeed cardinals created in secret, e.g., Martin V (#207) in July 23, 1423, but the process was different to in pectore. The pope would inform the existing cardinals of who was being ‘created’ in secret. The cardinals were probably under some form of oath to keep the information secret. With Paul III (in theory) the pope did not divulge the names of those created in pectore. [In practice, it is known that in some instances a pope would notify the 'cardinal-elect' that he had been created in pectore. It is also possible that a pope's trusted inner-circle, e.g., his private secretary, might know the identities of those created in pectore -- though ONLY the pope can publish in pectore names and thus create the cardinals. If the pope does not publish the names before he dies, the in pectore creations cease to be -- at once.]
So, since 1536 the TACIT part is implicit.
The ‘tacite’ affectation, as used with these three cardinals, comes from the ‘Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi,’ from the 16th & 17th century, that was quoting from a 17th century source ‘Acta Camerari Sacri Collegii S. R. E. Cardinalium‘. This was most likely to stress the 1536 change in protocol. There is no indication at all that the in pectore for these three cardinals were any different to those made since 1536 or the other cardinal created in pectore at the same November 19, 1629 consistory.