The original Explainer episode was triggered by a call made by Senator Joker Arroyo for the Pope to create more Filipino Cardinals. This is a call taken up by the Senate, most recently reiterated in 2010:
Sen. Joker Arroyo reiterated his call on Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to reply to the Senate’s call to increase the number of Filipino cardinals in the country. In a privilege speech last Wednesday, Arroyo expressed the need for the Senate to reiterate anew its “sense” before Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic hierarchy over the “grossly disproportionate” number of Filipino cardinals to the huge Catholic population of the Philippines. Arroyo noted that the Senate adopted a resolution on the matter on Nov. 7, 2007 but the Senate has not gotten any response from the Holy See until now.
More recently, Pope Benedict XVI announced that on November 24, the Feast of Christ the King, the second Consistory in one year will be held, in which six new Cardinals will be created.
On a history note, today’s shock announcement of a consistory a month from today to elevate six new cardinals marks the first time since 1929 that the Pope’s “Senate” will see two separate intakes within the same calendar year. At the same time, there was an even shorter interval – all of three and a half months – between two groups created by Blessed John XXIII in December 1959 and March 1960.
The term “Cardinal” itself comes from the term Incardinated. Someone in incardinated when they are appointed to a new position different from the one to which they were ordained. Say you were ordained a priest to serve in parish A. If you’re then assigned to parish B, you are incardinated in Parish B.
Of course, the cardinals of the Roman church constitute the historic successors of the city’s first clergy, hence the body’s responsibility to elect the local bishop (i.e. the Pope), and each member’s assignment to a titular church, where he serves as honorary pastor — and, in most cases, is financially responsible for the building’s upkeep. For several centuries, the ring given a new cardinal on his elevation consisted of a sapphire — the stone traditionally reserved to the rank — often surrounded by diamonds. After the reforms of the liturgy and ceremonies in the wake of the Council, the far simpler, modern band was adopted by Paul VI, and conferred in the context of a concelebrated liturgy, which came to be known as the “Mass of the Rings.”
For example, Cardinal Rosales’ titular church is the Santissimo Nome de
Maria church in the Via Latina, Rome.
First, a quick review of the three kinds of holy orders in
the Catholic Church. There are three: deacons, priests, and bishops. Everything
else is an added dignity, or title.
Next, let’s begin defining what a cardinal is, in the Roman
A Cardinal is, literally, someone who has been given a title
by the Pope, in the same way a duke or an earl’s given a title by a king or
In fact, the technical term for how Cardinals are made, is
the exact same term used in the British nobility. A Cardinal is “created” by
the Pope, the same way a Duke is “created” by the Queen of England. A Cardinal
then, is someone who has a title, and with that title come certain privileges
So when someone is created a Cardinal, they’re given a
title, and so, the proper reference to someone named Juan de la Cruz upon being
created a Cardinal, is Juan Cardinal de la Cruz.
I. Creating Cardinals
Protocol: In the Congress of Vienna, which convened to sort out
international diplomatic rules after the defeat of Napoleon, Cardinals were
recognized as being on the level of Princes, something that gave them a
specific stature in international protocol. This is why Cardinals are also
referred to as Princes of the Catholic Church.
The honorific for a Cardinal is Your Eminence, just as for
Archbishops and Bishops its Your Excellency, although in the UK a bishop has
the same honorific as a duke, which is, Your Grace.
Cardinals are given their title, or created Cardinals, in a Consistory.
Even if their names were disclosed this morning as intended nominees to the College of Cardinals, the designates announced today bear none of the rights or privileges of the office – above all, the right to elect a Pope – until the Consistory itself takes place.
As Whispers in the Loggia reminds us, until the Consistory takes place, the person who is announced is a Cardinal-designate. Only in the Consistory do they become a Cardinal. If a pope dies before a Consistory can take place, then the announcements made are voided. Of Consistories, there are two types: ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary Consistories are public; Extraordinary Consistories are not public.
Cardinals can be created in secret. This is known as a Cardinal in Pectore “in the breast”), or a Cardinal whose identity is not disclosed. If a pope dies without disclosing the identity of a Cardinal create in Pectore, that person ceases to be a Cardinal.
So originally, being a Cardinal was just a job description.
But when did they start having real power, and influence, including the
exclusive duty to elect new popes?
From the 8th century, popes were exclusively
elected by the Roman clergy. Before that, they were elected by the clergy and
the faithful or perhaps in some cases, appointed by their predecessor.
Cardinals remained what they were: deacons, priests, and bishops with special
duties in the Archdiocese of Rome.
Then Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) began appointing non-Italian
cardinals. This was also when cardinals obviously began serving as the
principal advisers of the Pope –that is, they began to have power.
And because they had powers, and because being a Cardinal
was more of a title of nobility than what it originally was, Popes creating
Cardinals became characterized by politics. It conferred prestige on
foreigners, and allowed Popes to reward relatives and allies.
The Tate Gallery describes the scene above as “This is a re-creation of an obscure and scandalous incident from the history of the Popes. In 1501 the illegitimate daughter of Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia Borgia, took his place at a meeting. Frank Cowper has invented this suggestive moment in which two noblemen part Lucrezia’s dress so that a Francisan friar can kiss her shoe.The room in the Vatican in which Lucrezia Borgia appeared still exists.”
Or Cardinal Richelieu, Prime Minister of France, too.
Because many Cardinals came to combine political and
spiritual power, Cardinals sometimes had veto power in papal elections. The
last time used was in 1903, when John Cardinal Puszyna, archbishop of Krakow,
opposed the election of Mariano Cardinal Rampolla.
Pius X, who was elected at that conclave, abolished the
“right of exclusion” or veto power of some Catholic kings exercised through
Cardinals. Examples of how ridiculous things could get was how, in
1731, Louis Bourbon, son of Philip V of Spain, became a cardinal at age 8, but
he eventually married.
1875, the first Cardinal from the Western Hemisphere, John Cardinal McCloskey
of New York was created
True internationalization of College of Cardinals began with
Pius XII, St. Bernard of Clairvaux had asked in the 12th
century isn’t it reasonable that cardinals be selected from every nation whose
office it is to judge all nations. Pius XII created the first cardinals in Africa, India, and
John XXIII created the first cardinals in Japan and the
Philippines. The first Filipino Cardinal was Rufino Cardinal Santos; and to
mark the event, the plaza in front of the Manila Cathedral was renamed Plaza
John XXIII also abolished allowing laymen to become Cardinals, though the last to consider creating one was Paul VI, who thought of making the lay theologian Jacques Maritain, a Cardinal. John XXIII also made all cardinals bishops to give them precedence over patriarchs in Vatican II. Exception are priests created cardinals past the age of being an elector, who then choose to remain priests.
The symbol of a Cardinal is a red hat, of the ancient type
seen in this picture. While maintained in heraldry, the handing of this type of red hat, called a galero, was abolished in 1967. Today, only the pope uses the galero.
And there are three types, or degrees, of Cardinals. These
types originate from the earliest origins of Cardinals. From lowest to highest,
they are, as follows.
Cardinal deacons: originally the deacons in charge of social
services for 18 regions of Rome. Today, Cardinal deacons are Cardinals created
over the age of 80, and thus no longer entitled to vote, or who have been
created Cardinals but choose to remain priests, usually also because of age.
Cardinal priests: originally, priests temporarily
incardinated to certain shrines or basilicas for special liturgical services.
Most Cardinals today, who also govern their own diocese in countries abroad,
are cardinal priests.
Cardinal bishops: originally, the seven bishops for seven
dioceses surrounding Rome, and referred to as such, when they held special
liturgical services in St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome. In 1962,
Cardinal bishops were relieved by John XXIII from having jurisdiction over
these dioceses. Today Cardinal bishops are often the most senior officials of
the Roman Curia, or bureaucracy of the Church.
have been a total of five Filipino Cardinals: Rufino Cardinal Santos, Jaime
Cardinal Sin, and Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila; Julio Cardinal Rosales
and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu; and Jose Cardinal Sanchez, a Filipino whose
career was been spent in the Vatican bureaucracy, or the Roman Curia. Of the
three most recent Filipino Cardinals two, Rosales and Vidal, are Cardinal Priests
while Sanchez was a Cardinal Deacon.
In the 12th Century, the number was 53, normally
20 to 30; sometimes, below 10; in 1586 Sixtus V set the maximum number at 70 in
imitationof the 70 chosen by Moses (Exodus 24:1) and Jesus (Luke 10:1). From 1856-1958 there were 60-70 cardinals; John XXIII created more than
80; Paul VI reformed the College of Cardinals in 1970 and increased the number
to 120, not counting those over 80, whom he excluded as electors.
In an announcement that seems to have taken everyone by surprise, this morning the Pope called Red Dawn, announcing the elevation of six new cardinals at a consistory scheduled for 24 November, the vigil of the feast of Christ the King. In order of their announcement, the cardinals-designate are: Archbishop James Harvey, 63, the Milwaukee-born prefect of the Papal Household (who, Benedict said today, he will soon name as archpriest of the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls); Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai, 72, the Lebanon-based head of the worldwide, 5 million-member Maronite church; Major Archbishop Basilios Cleemis, 53, head of India’s Syro-Malankara church – the first hierarch from the 600,000-member community to receive the red hat (and, by two years, set to become the youngest cardinal); Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja (Nigeria), 68 Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogotá, 70 Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, 55; head of Asia’s largest diocese The new intake – the second one of this year following the creation of 22 in February – will be Benedict XVI’s fifth turn at topping up the College which will elect his successor. Following the gathering, the number of cardinal-electors will be restored to its statutory maximum of 120 red-hats under age 80, a figure from which the pontiff “derogated” earlier this year to add five additional members. During his pontificate, John Paul II had ballooned the Electoral College to a size as high as 135 voters. While two of the voting seats to be filled only come open within the next month, at least an additional 11 electoral spots will be freed up in 2013 as their current holders “age out” of Conclave privileges. Given the relative flood of vacancies, a consistory – normally foreseen weeks, if not months, in advance – had previously been expected for sometime in the first part of next year.
Because the Catholic Church is a religion, that happens to
have its own state, the Pope is both head of the Catholic Church, and the head
of state of the Vatican City, which a portion of the city of Rome.
In strictly political terms, the Pope is one of the last
absolute monarchs left in the world, yet the only one elected. Besides the
religious functions of the Pope, he also has political functions as the head of
the oldest continuously-operating government on the planet, that of the Church
as a whole, and of the Papal territory in Rome.
III. Cardinals in the Government of the Catholic Church
Indeed, for the government of Rome, the College of Cardinals
served as the Senate of Rome; only in 1983 was the term senate dropped in the
Code of Canon Law, adopting instead the term, “special college.”
Meetings of Cardinals with the Pope are called Consistories.
Consistories until 1588, were the consultative meetings between Pope and
cardinals, then suppressed. Thereafter, it became a term for the ritual in
which Popes would announce the creation of new Cardinals.
In 1979, consistories were revived as means of consultations
between the Pope and Cardinals. When bishops are consulted by the Pope, the
gatherings are called synods; in a sense, the synods are the lower house and
the consistories the upper house of Church governance.
The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church [From the Latin Code of Canon Law 1983] Can. 349 The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church constitute…
The Code of Canon Law, in its latest form from 1983, also
defines two types of consistory: ordinary and extraordinary. The former, for
cardinals present in Rome and the latter, for all cardinals in the world.
Together, Cardinals comprise the College of Cardinals. It is
as a College that they come together, to attend to the funeral of a Pope, and
elect a new one. They do so in what’s called a Conclave, which means, “locked
with a key,” the process of closed-door elections that began in 1274.
A Cardinal is who is qualified to participate in a Conclave is called a Cardinal Elector.
Which brings us to the exclusive privilege of Cardinals,
which is to elect a Pope.
This is because in 1059, cardinals became the sole electors
of the Pope. At first, the cardinal bishops would meet and propose a candidate
and ask the cardinal priests to vote on it. Since 1179, the cardinals together have exclusively elected
popes, with one exception, in 1417 when the Western Schism was ended when two
sides joined together with representatives bishops and cardinals to elect a new
What is the significance of the November 24 Consistory?
Pope Benedict XVI has been clear on his expectations of what Cardinals are supposed to be, and his actions seem to suggest a focus on three things: improving the governance of the Church, increasing the spirituality of the overall Church and in particular among those who hold positions of responsibility; and to refocus the rituals of the Church to underscore these aspects of the administrative and spiritual life of the clergy who hold office in the Church.
Whispers in the Loggia, that indispensable blog, points out something the Pope discovered upon the death of his predecessor:
As Dean of the College prior to becoming the post’s first holder to ascend to the papacy since the 1600s, Benedict presided over the daily General Congregations of all the cardinals which governed the church between the death of Blessed John Paul II and the 2005 Conclave. The key conclusion of the sessions was that the group – who John Paul only convoked for actual discussion on just six occasions spread over his 27-year reign (the last in 2001) – didn’t know each other terribly well. Clearly, the Consistory Eve sit-downs are a reflection of Benedict’s intent to remedy that; in a marked contrast from his predecessor, the coming “pre-consistory” would stack up as the the College’s fifth meeting for talks in Joseph Ratzinger’s seven-year pontificate. Given the Pope’s age and increasing signs of a physical slow-down, even if it hasn’t happened twice in the same year since 1929, it’s indeed very possible that B16’s desire to quickly re-convoke the group which will elect his successor that they might increasingly size each other up provides a key to this morning’s surprise announcement.
On one hand, the Pope has to increase the number of Cardinals to make up for attrition due to age (since Cardinals over 80 can no longer vote in a Conclave). But as another entry below points out, he also wants to respond to the desire of local churches to be more properly represented in the governance of the Church:
Elsewhere in his brief Synod talk, the Pope took the unusual step of explaining his rationale to elevate six new cardinals next month, making 2012 the first time since 1929 that two consistories will take place in the same calendar year. Acknowledging the raft of criticism over the composition of the last two intakes into his “Senate” – both featuring what were widely perceived as “excessive” blocs of Italians or Europeans in general, with a disproportionately high Curial contingent – Benedict said that calling the 24 November rites with a list devoid of any European designates was intended to “complete the Consistory of February, in the context of the new evangelization, with a gesture of the universality of the church, showing that the church is the church of all peoples, she speaks in all languages, she is always a church of Pentecost; not the church of one continent, but a universal church.”
So in summary, the Pope wants to bring Cardinals closer to him, to get them more involved in advising him, and for Cardinals to know each other better since their having to select his successor will come sooner rather than later; second, he is aware of the desire of the various local churches for the College of Cardinals to be more representative, and not heavily composed of Europeans or those working in the Vatican’s ministries or offices (the Curia).
History also teaches that an excessive focus on the perks and rituals of being a Cardinal is unhealthy for the Church; the Pope as a Theologian, is also highly concerned not only with doctrinal purity, but fostering spirituality among all Catholics.
While the Main Event – the “Consistory of Creation” itself – has been called for November 24th, it’s worth noting that, per usual, the entrance of six new cardinals into the Pope’s “Senate” is likely to begin a day earlier with another edition of the now-traditional daylong meeting for prayer and consultation B16 has invariably elected to hold with his closest advisors, cardinals-designate and those older than 80 included. As they’ve been carried out in the past, the sessions – which run into the night in the Vatican’s Synod Hall – focus on a handful of specific topics of the pontiff’s choosing. At the gathering before February’s consistory, Benedict upended Vatican protocol by tapping one of the incoming class, now Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, to give the day’s keynote on the topic of the New Evangelization. Prior cardinals-only meetings have focused on topics ranging from sex-abuse in the church and international religious freedom to an idea for extending the retirement age for bishops, which – five years after it was taken up – remains fixed at 75. As a matter of practice, the entire College of Cardinals is summoned to Rome for the reception of new members into the “world’s most exclusive club.” Barring reasons of illness or other inability to travel, all the world’s 200-plus red-hats are expected to attend.
As noted by Whispers in the Loggia above, “prayer and consultation,” then, takes up more time than the actual rituals, when Cardinals are created. This gives them both face time with the Pontiff and a chance to be consulted and heard on issues confronting the Church.
Governance and spirituality come together in the renewal of ritual: that is, to modify rituals and symbols in order to refocus everyone involved in what the whole thing is about: what Cardinals are expected to do, and how they are supposed to serve the Catholic Church.
For example, here is the explanation of how the Consistory earlier this year, featured a guide to remind everyone that the creation of Cardinals is not a sacrament; it is an a title and an office (meaning, a job).
For starters, with Pope Benedict’s liturgy team seeking to douse impressions that elevation to the College somehow constitutes a “sacrament,” the 22 incoming “Princes of the Church” will receive their rings at Saturday’s consistory together with the red biretta, which has served as the office’s central symbol since the 30-tasseled galero was removed from the ceremonial at its revision in 1967. Secondly, though, the just-released worship aid for the rites indicates that the bas-relief circular band depicting the Crucifixion (below) — given to practically every new cardinal in the post-Conciliar period — is being replaced by a brand-new design, intended to underscore in gold the particular link of the Papal “Senate” to the church of Rome, born from the witness and martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul.
According to the rebooted consistory ritual prepared by the lead papal MC, Msgr Guido Marini, the newly-designed cardinal’s ring (right) is described as follows: The back part of the ring represents a stylized column like those found in Saint Peter’s Basilica, while the face is a bas-relief in the shape of a cross. On the face are figures of Saints Peter and Paul, modeled on their statues located in front of the Basilica, representing faith and missionary proclamation. Between the two Saints, as if to illumine them, is placed an eight-pointed star, a clear reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Inside the ring, beneath the face, are the arms of Pope Benedict XVI in bas-relief. As each of the cardinals-designate — who, per tradition, enter the consistory bareheaded — are brought forward to the Pope, the zucchetto and biretta will be imposed on each kneeling cleric, then the ring conferred, and finally, the bull consigning his titular church placed in his hand.
The whole Consistory then, and the other rituals surrounding the creation of a new Cardinal, are meant to be teaching moments to remind both the Cardinal and all participating and watching, what the title represents, and what its duties are supposed to achieve.
IV. A Filipino Primate
From the foundation of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, until we became independent in 1946, the archbishops of Manila were foreigners. American sovereignty meant that the Vatican and the
religious orders began sending non-Spaniards: the last Spanish Archbishop of
Manila, Bernardino Nozaleda, resigned in 1901 and Manila was administered by
Cebu until the first American Archbishop of Manila, Jeremiah J. Harty, arrived in 1904.
he was succeeded by Michael J. O’Doherty who established the Archbishop’s
Palace after World War II in Villa San Miguel, because he loved playing golf
and living in Mandaluyong placed him close to the Wack-Wack golf club.
Archbishop O’Dougherty liked to claim he was the Primate of the Philippines,
which wasn’t true.
In 1949, Manila
gained its first Filipino Archbishop, Gabriel Reyes, who died in 1952. In
1960, his successor was Rufino Cardinal
Santos, who’d been Archbishop of Manila since 1953. Then his successor from
1974, was created Jaime Cardinal Sin, in 1976; and in turn, his successor, from
2003 when Sin’s retirement was accepted, was created Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales
in 2006 after Sin had passed away.
Upon Cardinal Rosales’ retirement, his successor became Archbishop Chito Tagle, who is now a Cardinal-designate until the Consistory on November 24, when he will be created a Cardinal: an unusual step, since his predecessor is still alive. However, the death of Cardinal Sanchez recently, reduced the “Philippine quota,” so to speak; and furthermore, both surviving Filipino Cardinals, Rosales and Vidal, are past voting age.
Cebu gained its first Filipino bishop much earlier than
Manila, in the person of Juan Bautista
Gorordo in 1909. In 1933, the diocese of Cebu was made an
archdiocese, with Archbishop Gabriel Reyes as the first Filipino archbishop.
Cardinal Rosales was created the first Cardinal Archbishop of Cebu in 1969,
followed by the creation of Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in 1985.
Archbishop –soon to be Cardinal– Tagle has gained the attention of the entire Catholic Church. As Whispers in the Loggia pointed out, when Archbishop Tagle was elected Archbishop of Manila, his becoming Archbishop of Manila was considered one of the most significant appointments of this pontificate:
However long his pontificate runs, Benedict XVI’s key appointment in Asia — and likely one of the Pope’s three or four most significant personnel picks worldwide, all told — will enter the annals as that of 54 year-old Luis Antonio Tagle to Manila, the continent’s largest and most influential diocese, home to a flock of some 3 million in a country whose 75 million faithful now trail only Brazil and Mexico as global Catholicism’s largest outpost. Add in Filipino Catholicism’s long history as a “power church,” and the 32nd archbishop of the island capital could be a major force on the national stage for no less than a quarter-century.
The announcement of Tagle as Cardinal-designate is also viewed as an important step.
That said, consistories are never about the past, but the future… and as each one tends to have its “star,” it’s a pretty obvious call that the coming intake will be decidedly Chito-centric. Named to his post a year ago last week, the singing, weeping, bike-riding and YouTubing 55 year-old head of Asia’s largest diocese – a member of the progressive-leaning “Bologna school” team of Vatican II historians – clearly hasn’t been dubbed the “golden child” for nothing… …and in his first comments following the news, Cardinal-designate Luis Antonio Tagle (Pron.: “Tahg-lay”) of Manila quickly took to Vatican Radio to reiterate his Synod call for the church to be something better than ”a triumphalistic, a ‘know-it-all’ type of institution.”