Skip to comments.Consistory near: Vatican orders new cardinal's rings (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 12/30/2011 3:06:59 PM PST by NYer
In February - in all likelihood the 18th and 19th of February - the fourth consistory for the creation of new cardinals in Benedict XVI's pontificate will take place. Vatican Insider has written many times of the lists of possible new cardinals: the now-imminent decision is confirmed by the purchasing of the new cardinal's rings. It is tradition, in fact, for the reigning Pontiff to give a ring to the new senators of the Church. Up until now, Pope Ratzinger has given newly-created cardinals rings forged on the model used during John Paul II's pontificate (a rectangle of worked gold, upon which stands a cross). But now a design has been approved for a new cardinal's ring, made in the form of a cross, which will be used for the first time next February. It was created by ecclesiastical goldsmiths the Savi Brothers, who work in Borgo Pio, at a cost of around 1,500. The Savis have already worked for some time with the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations: they are the ones who created the papal ferula, the cross the Pope uses as a pastoral staff during Mass.
With the new consistory, says Sandro Magister on his website, the cardinals created by Ratzinger (who have the right to vote in the conclave) surpass, for the first time, the number of those appointed by Wojtyla. Benedict XVI does not want to exceed the limit of 120 voting cardinals, established by Paul VI. In February, the available posts will be 13, and could become 15, counting the other two cardinals who will reach the age of eighty in the following months.
In the consistory of November 2010, half the posts were assigned to heads of dicasteries and offices of the Roman Curia. The same thing will happen this time. Awaiting the cardinalship in fact are Italians Fernando Filoni (Prefect of Propaganda Fide), Domenico Calcagno (President of APSA), Giuseppe Versaldi (President of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See), and Giuseppe Bertello (President of the Governorship of the State of Vatican City), and the Brazilian João Braz de Aviz (Prefect of the Congregation for Religious), the American Edwin F. OBrien (Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher) and the Spaniard Santos Abril y Castello (Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore). Two more curials could be added to this list of seven: Francesco Coccopalmerio (President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, a body whose powers have grown much in recent years) and Rino Fisichella (President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization). Fisichella's Pontifical Council will be directly involved in the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Ratzinger.
Given the choice to allocate all these cardinals to the Roman Curia (many of whom are headed to financial and administrative heads of offices very close to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone), it will not be possible to widen the distribution of the red bishop's caps to those who lead major dioceses around the world. And so, to justify this choice, the unwritten rule will be invoked: the cardinalship will not be given to those who have an emeritus predecessor under the age of eighty (one wonders, however, why this same rule could not be utilized in the Curia ...).
One exception, we read on Magister's site, if there is one, could be made for Timothy Dolan, from New York, and for the Dominican Dominik Duka, from Prague, whose predecessors will reach the age of 80, respectively, on 2 April and 17 May. Considered sure cardinals are the new Archbishops of Berlin (Rainer Maria Woelki), Toronto (Thomas C. Collins) and Utrecht (Willem J. Eijk), the bishop of Hong Kong (John Tong), as well as the new Libyan Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Rai and in India the Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar George Alencherry.
Still remaining to be resolved is the puzzle of the bishop posts whose cardinal emeritus has not retired but was called to another post in the Roman Curia. This is the case in Florence, Toledo, and Quebec, whose Archbishop Emeriti (still defined thus in the Papal Yearbook) are now, respectively, heading the Pontifical Council for the Family (Ennio Antonelli), Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (Antonio Cañizares), and the Prefect of the Dicastry for the Bishops (Marc Ouellet). In the last consistory, the unwritten rule was applied in these cases as well. That would still leave the Archbishop of Florence, Giuseppe Betori, without the cardinalship. It would also mean, if the rule continues to be applied, that the Archbishop of Toledo will never wear the cardinal's hat, as the current holder of the Spanish primatial seat is older than his predecessor, Cardinal Cañizares.