Feb 142011

by Dr. Marko B. of Croatia (with background annotations by Anura Guruge).

Regular readers of this blog will be very familiar with ‘Marko B.’ — who is also the author of this Nov. 12, 2010 essay.

If you are not familiar with the precedence rules for the College of Cardinals and jus optionis please read this May 30, 2010 post (which just happens to mention Cardinal Sepe’s scenario as an example — as if anticipating this issue). On February 21, 2011 we will have 6 cardinal deacons eligible for jus optionis promotion to the order of cardinal priests. So this issue raised by Marko is extremely germane and timely. There will be a separate post on the 6 preferment-eligible cardinal deacons later this week.


Cardinal Sepe short-changed on due precedence

Cardinal Sepe short-changed on due precedence

Dr. Marko:



I recently looked at Salvador Miranda’s precedence list [The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church] of cardinals: http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/orders.htm.
Then I realized that the list is wrong, at least as far as I know, considering Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe.

As far as I know, when a cardinal deacon is promoted to the order of priests, the precedence list is formed according to the consistory sheet list, as the cardinal were always a member of the order of priests. [Anura: This is indeed the case per 1983 Canon Law 350 § 6, THOUGH interestingly there is no mention of Sepe’s scenario per se, i.e., a deacon promoted not per ‘his choice after 10 years’ but at the pleasure of the Pontiff.]
In my opinion, Sepe should be placed between Pujats and Dias, not between Honore and Scola. Agostino Vallini, also promoted to the order of priests is placed exactly where he should be: in front of Urosa Savino.

And it seems to me that Salvador thinks my opinion is correct, but Annuario Pontificio 2010 says otherwise. [Anura: Annuario Pontificio 2010 is NOT an official Vatican publication and as far as I know there has never been a papal edict granting the Annuario infallibility.]

The error concerns cardinal Crescenzio Sepe. According to his biographical data (http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios-s.htm#Sepe), he was created cardinal on February 21, 2001 (http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/consistories-xx.htm#JohnPaulII).

The was listed as the 7th of the 42 created cardinals and was created cardinal deacon. However, he was automatically elevated to cardinal priest, with his deaconry being elevated pro hac vice to title, when he was transferred to the metropolitan see of Naples.

Here I see an error int he precedence list: you situated cardinal Sepe between Jean Honoré (2001, #41) and Angelo Scola (2003, #8), which would make Sepe the „youngest“ cardinal priest (at present) of the 2001 consistory. But cardinals Sepe is at present the ‘most senior’ of all cardinal priests created in 2001, and he should be placed between Pujats (1998, #22) and Dias (2001, #14).

As for other 13 cardinals created in 2001 and listed before Dias:

1. Giovanni Battista Re, created cardinal priest –> Cardinal BISHOP.
2. François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, DECEASED.
3. Agostino Cacciavillan, still DEACON (currectly the PROTODEACON).
4. Sergio Sebastiani, still DEACON.
5. Zenon Grocholewski, still DEACON.
6. José Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., created cardinal deacon –> Cardinal BISHOP.
7. Crescenzio Sepe, created c. deacon –> C. PRIEST.
8. Jorge María Mejía, still DEACON.
9. Ignace Moussa I Daoud, PATRIARCH.
10. Mario Francesco Pompedda, DECEASED.
11. A German cardinal who is still a DEACON.
12. Johannes Joachim Degenhardt, DECEASED
13. Antonio José González Zumárraga, DECEASED.
14. Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, created C. PRIEST.

which means that Pujats is followed by Sepe, and then Sepe by Dias.

Gcatholic.com, http://www.gcatholic.com/hierarchy/cardinals-alive-precedence.htm, does have the precedence in the right order.

  19 Responses to “Italian Cardinal Priest Crescenzio Sepe Not Getting Due Precedence”

  1. Thanks. Must have been a typo.
    I fixed it. Have a look. Cheers.

  2. Sepe was promoted to the order of cardinal priests as a result of his move from the Curia to Naples (that move was certainly a step back for Sepe) since cardinal deacons are members of the Curia, not archbishops with a pastoral see somewhere in the world.
    Precedence rules are quite clear. You don’t climb until other cardinals die or you get to a higher order. Had John Paul II lived for another several years, I am sure Sepe (Sodano’s substitute, like Re) would have become a cardinal bishop (as the head of Propaganda Fide). Well, this is now an ended story. Sepe will stay a cardinal priest forever and climb as much as God will allow him by calling other cardinals to their eternal home. Next candidates for the order of bishops are Ouellet and, later, the successor to Bertone.

  3. Of course. GLAD you have worked out that there is indeed some method to my palpable madness. Didn’t YOU remember this memorable post … that got so much attention.

  4. Marko B, the main author of this post send this to me in an e-mail, this morning:
    350.5. Through a choice made in consistory and approved by the Supreme Pontiff and with priority of order and promotion observed, cardinals from the presbyteral order can transfer to another title, and cardinals from the diaconal order to another diaconia and if they have been in the diaconal order for ten full years, even to the presbyteral order.

    350.6. A cardinal transferring through choice from the diaconal order to the presbyteral order takes precedence offer all those cardinal presbyters who were brought into the cardinalate after him.

    350.5. Per optionem in Consistorio factam et a Summo Pontifice approbatam, possunt, servata prioritate ordinis et promotionis, Cardinales ex ordine presbyterali transire ad alium titulum et Cardinales ex ordine diaconali ad aliam diaconiam et, si per integrum decennium in ordine diaconali permanserint, etiam ad ordinem presbyteralem.

    350.6. Cardinalis ex ordine diaconali transiens per optionem ad ordinem presbyteralem, locum obtinet ante omnes illos Cardinales presbyteros, qui post ipsum ad Cardinalatum assumpti sunt.

    The Latin word optio (-onis, f.) is correctly translated as “choice”.

    Mr. Miranda follows latin and prefers the verb “opt”. Thus, a cardinal deacon “opted for the order of priests”. I find the verb “opt” convenient indeed.

    I looked today at Acta Apostolicae Sedis, which is available online until 2007.

    Interestingly, considering the public consistory of February 2005, when cardinal deacons elevated in November 1994 were promoted to the order of priests, the AAS only brings the exact words of John Paul II in Italian. The mentioned term is “assegnare il Titolo Presbiterale” i.e. assign the title of presbyter.

    In the 2006 AAS, only Sepe’s nomination to Naples is mentioned, not his promotion to another order.

    However, the Annuario lists Sepe and Vallini with two different logics applied and hence I believe it is simply a mistake (Vallini Ok, error for Sepe).

  5. Andrew,
    I was quite unclear considering the relation of Sepe and Re with Sodano. I will try to make it clear.
    The Secretary of State (under current regulations) governs both the internal organizational matters of the Curia and the relations with other sovereign states. He has two substitutes: Substitute for General Affairs and Substitute for Relation with States. The former used to be called previously Substitute for Ordinary Affairs. The latter position was historicaly sometimes within the Secretariate, sometimes not (from 1914 to 1967 there was a separate Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs where the prefect was always the same person occupying the post of the Secretary of State; again).
    Substitute for General Affairs has his own deputy or chief of staff called Assessor for General Affairs. Well now, cardinal Re was the Assessor from 1979 to 1987 and was succeeded by Sepe from 1987 to 1992. Re was elevated to the post of Substitute for General affairs in 1989 and served until being named the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. When Sodano became the Secretary of State in 1990 Re was his immediate right hand (one of his two substitutes), while Sepe was the Assessor for General affairs . While some of the Assessors like Martinez Somalo (the camerlengo during the conclave of 2005), Re or Sandri later became Substitutes for General Affairs, Sepe crossed to the Congregation for Clergy where he was the Secretary i.e. #2.
    So, that I wanted to say is that Re was Sodano’s #2 for a decade, while Sepe was #3 for two years. In this was both of them were Sodano’s deputies.
    While I know that Prefects of Propaganda Fide don’t become cardinal bishops, remeber that promotio to the order is at Pope’s discretion. Remeber that cardinal Etchegaray (the current Vice-Dean) was president of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Cor Unum while the late cardinal Lopez Trujillo was president of the Pontifical Council for Family. Both were appointed cardinals bishops. Also, Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect emeritus of the Causes of saints became cardinal bishop in 2009 (skipping the order of priests), despite the fact his predecessors did not.

  6. Just found this link that also CONFIRMS Marko’s precedence of Sepe. Bravo, Marko.

  7. Marko & Father Peter,
    I was NOT aware of this. Did you know that the list of names for the Feb. 21, 2001 consistory was announced in TWO (2) separate batches, INITIALLY 37 names at the Jan. 21, 2001 Angelus [i.e., exactly a month ahead per convention] and then five (5) names a week later! Found it on the Vatican Web site of all places. Here is the link.
    What gave?
    1/ Did the Vatican screw-up … which is ALWAYS a distinct possibility and forget the 5 names in the list they gave the pope on Jan. 21?

    2/ Was there an UPROAR within the Church that these 5 were NOT named and the pope was forced to add the names.

    Now, Marko … from all I know, the order in which cardinal-presumptives are named in the pre-consistory announcement has NO BEARING, whatsoever, on eventual precedence …. ALL that matters is the order in which they were called at the consistory. It is, however, interesting that the Vatican makes such a BIG DEAL out of this calling it … “first announced 37 Cardinals” and then “the other 5 Cardinals.

    I was AMUSED that Dear Salvador, in his usual zeal to capture such things, did not have a footnote on his list to mention this unusual occurrence.

    Marko, Father Peter … any comments on this.

    Thank you. Father Peter, I will, shortly, address your comment. Need to get my daughter to school first. Cheers.

  8. I am POSTING a new post NOW … since there is much material that will be of wider interest than THE FEW that read the comments. So PLEASE read the new post.

  9. This was VERY helpful Father. THANK YOU. Yes, I do now remember that you had talked about Husar before. Thank you.

    But, I am not clear about YOUR opening sentence. You say: ‘I remember quite well that here was no uproar of disapproval – on the contrary: …’ In paragraph 3 you then say that Ambassadors ‘protested’! While there may not have been PUBLIC dissent it appears quite clear that SOMETHING took place. Would similar ‘protest’ by ambassadors have worked in October 2010 … say in the case of Philippines? I do NOT think so. Was this a case, ALREADY, that in 2001, the pope had handed much of the day to day operations to folks like Stanis-Break-the-Law. We have already had folks commenting that Stanis-Break-the-Law, even then, was rather partial to $$$s given to him … though we know from the case of Cody that giving $5K in plain envelopes to Senior curial cardinals was par for the course. So … can we surmise that it might not have been just ‘protest.’ Was there money involved? Not a problem. BUYING cardinalates, as YOU KNOW, was perfectly legit … and popes used it as a means to get revenue. So to me, this is business as normal.

    Father … Marko … I have to run again. LONGER TRIP. Must now pick up both daughters and then drive an hour to pick up wife from hospital. Then bring her home. She will need lot of help. Plus then get the girls settled. IF you can, I need some help. No, no … you don’t have to send me any money. I am very committed to my vow of enforced poverty. I need PLEASE a breakdown of the Feb. 21, 2001 consistory … how many bishops, priests, deacons … how many dead .. how many promoted. I need to write a post on the coming jus optionis for the 6 car. deacons. 6 … right? I checked the other day. 6, including Casper. Right? But, I will like to add as much DETAIL as possible re. consistory. Yes, YOU know I will freely give you credit for the work. THANK YOU. Must run. I will be gone for at least 5 hours. All the best.


  10. Learning is indeed a wonderful thing. I just wish I can get my two youngest to understand that. Father, I think I covered nearly all in my new post (addressed to you) and latest comment.
    Please look. Thanks.

  11. Just a clarification regarding cardinal Saraiva Martins.
    In my original e-mail to Anura I wrote that he was created a DEACON, not a priest. I have also mentioned that in post #9 up here. It seems that a copy-paste error occured somewhere.
    Yes, Saraiva Martins seems a special case. One should see whether there were any other direct promotions from deacons to bishops (in older times, when deacons were not bishops or sometimes not even ordained, such a promotion should have included ordaining as well).

  12. Marko,
    Fixed Martins. Not sure how that happened. But it is FIXED.
    Might be BETTER if you add NEW comments to yesterday’s post — since it is the LATEST in this thread.
    So … Marko … no detailed stats for the Feb. 2001 consistory? I have to do it ALL myself?
    Thanks. Cheers.

  13. I just looked with GREAT amusement. Ego is a TERRIBLE thing, especially in a man past 70. I do feel for him. Good for Marko.

  14. Father,
    But, did YOU notice that Salvador does NOT EVER acknowledge such changes in his ‘Additions’ or ‘Cronica.’ So he will make MAJOR changes without providing a clue that things got changed. I have talked to him MULTIPLE times about this … since I have e-mail records of numerous changes he had to make — all never documented as having changed.
    Shall I tell YOU why he changed it TODAY?
    He know that I check what he updates by checking using FireFox, right-click, PAGE INFO. On a page like precedence …. very clear. Today he had to update the other names.
    Cracks me up. Because as you know here … I am the other way. I admit to errors even before I check the claim … because I know I am HUMAN.
    Made my day. Now I have to update a ton of bloody tables. Heck. Last thing I wanted to do today. Was hoping to write about my buddy Charon. Pity I will not be seeing him for a long time. Do you think he will eventually be able to come up and see me in heaven? Or maybe … you would know. Can you take day trips from heaven to hell … like if you want to go and say ‘hi’ to friends. So, if I wanted to come and see you … and chat with Charon on the way ,.. give him one of my JP II papal coins. I guess I can … right. Must run. Cheers.

  15. We were right and AP was wrong. BINGO! I am not celebrating since I knew we were right. But good to see it fixed and have my eyes out of conflict with my brain at last.

  16. Marko,
    Have you e-mailed Salvador?

  17. Marko,
    While you were indeed right and I knew you were right from the second I got your e-mail, WE still have NOT sorted this out. Canon:
    350§6. A cardinal transferring through choice from the diaconal order to the presbyteral order takes precedence over all those cardinal presbyters who were brought into the cardinalate after him.

    Key word: ‘through choice’ — i.e., jus optionis as was the case with the 6 cardinal deacons yesterday. By choice.

    But Sepe, was not by his choice … but by the edict of the pope. DIFFERENCE. This Canon does NOT cover that. It is an extrapolation, a logical one … but one that is still subject to interpretation.

    PLEASE consider and comment. Have you contacted Dear Salvador?


  18. The recent (but not historical) practice of naming the cardinal-deacons first in the list for the consistory also affects their later precedence.But how important is it to the conduct of a conclave who gets to be its acting-archpriest?(The actual archpriest of the college will almost always be an over-80).

  19. From memory, the ONLY specific function assigned to the Cardinal Archpriest is to conduct the spiritual exhortation IF no pope has been legitimately elected after 19-20 ballots (5.5 to 6 days into the conclave). That is it.

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