Apr 152011

by Anura Guruge


April 15, ‘Tax Day’ in the U.S. since 1955, proved to be, during the last century, a popular date for papal edits.

1/ 1910: Pius X’s (#258) Apostolicæ Romanorum Pontificum motu proprio that set out to ensure that the diocesans of the suburbicarian sees would receive undivided pastoral care unimpeded by the other duties of the cardinal bishops — many of whom were then senior curialist. He, thus, stipulated that these sees would have a ‘suffragan’ (‘surrogate’) bishop who would have complete administrative authority. The cardinal bishoprics would thus be strictly titular. This ruling, however, would get revoked five years later. But, then thirty-seven years later, get changed back, by the unflinching John XXIII (##262), again to this 1910 ruling – thus becoming one of the more notable ‘flip-flop’ issues in papal history, particularly so in that it all happened within six decades.

2/ 1962: John XXIII’s (#262) pivotal Cum gravissima motu proprio requiring that all cardinals receive episcopal consecration (unless an explicit exemption is granted by the pope, typically on the grounds of age).

3/ 1969: Paul VI’s (#263) Ad hoc usque tempus motu proprio mandating that cardinal priests and cardinal deacons would cease to have any administrative or governance rights relative to the Roman churches and deaconries assigned to them. From then on, their duties would be more along the lines of wise, ‘guardian angels’ always vigilant for what is best for their ‘title.’ This is continues to be the status quo.

4/ 1969: Paul VI’s (#263) communique revoking the privilege that the heads of states of Italy, France, Spain and Portugal had long enjoyed in conferring the red biretta to newly created cardinals if they were from their country or happened to be papal nuncios serving that country. For example, when Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (the future John XXIII) was created a cardinal in January 1953 by Pius XII (#261), the socialist (supposedly agnostic) President of France, Vincent Auriol, who had become a good friend, requested, and was granted, the honor of conferring the red biretta to the then, highly popular, papal nuncio to France.

Cum gravissima, motu proprio, Cum gravissima, motu proprio,Cum gravissima, motu proprio,

An attempt to provide a daily snapshot. Not, by any stretch, meant to be a comprehensive list for each day. Just some of the events that I know about. But, PLEASE feel free to join in. Send me stuff in advance and YOU will be given credit. Thanks. Anura

  One Response to “This Day In Papal History: April 15”

  1. John XXIII,not John XIII,issued “Cum gravissima”…and his “Suburbicaris Sedibus” went beyond reinstating Apostolicae Romanorum Pontificum in providing full-fledged ordinaries,rather than nominal auxiliaries serving as de facto ordinaries,in place of the Cardinal-Bishops of the suburbicarian sees.

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