Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A hierarchy update

As expected His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, during his Wednesday audience, announced a consistory, which is a worldwide gathering of all of the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, to be held in the Vatican 24 November 2007, which this year falls on the eve of the Feast of Christ the King. The main business of this consistory will be to confer the red hat on twenty-three men, among whom are two U.S. prelates: John Patrick Foley and Daniel Nicholas DiNardo.

The list of new cardinals, known as the biglietto, as Rocco, my good friend over at Whispers, where you'll find the best wall-to-wall coverage of the consistory, points out, "is arranged in order of precedence" Hence, at the head of the biglietto is "Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches" and, "Just behind him is the . . . Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Cardinal-designate John Foley."

Foley, who, until recently, served as head of Pontifical Council for Social Communications and has been serving as the pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, is a native of Philadelphia. Upon being named a cardinal Archbishop Foley is now the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order, being able to drop the "pro" from his title.

Archbishop DiNardo is the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, which was only raised to an archdiocese on 29 December 2004, the same day Archbishop DiNardo was named co-adjutor to Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza. Perhaps the biggest surprise, at least for the Church in the U.S., is the absence from the list of Archbishop Donald Wuerl who, as archbishop of Washington, D.C., was widely expected to be named a member of the Sacred College. Like Archbishop Wuerl, Cardinal-designate DiNardo is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was ordained a priest, as was Archbishop Wuerl, for that diocese before being named co-adjutor bishop to Sioux City, Iowa, a see to which he succeeded before going to Galveston-Houston.

Paris once again has a Cardinal Archbishop now that Andre Vingt-Trois has been named a cardinal. As with Archbishop Wuerl's omission from this consistory, it was a surprise when Archbishop Vingt-Trois was not created a cardinal during Pope Benedict XVI's first consistory, held on 24 March 2006. Vingt-Trois was installed as archbishop of Paris on 11 February 2005. It was a surprise when his name did not appear on the list of new cardinals, but that of his countryman, Jean-Pierre Bernard Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, another archdiocese that did not have a history of cardinal archbishops, did.

It is of great significance that among those named to the Sacred College by the Holy Father is His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq. Though he is over 80, this is a well-deserved honor for the patriarch of an ancient Church that is currently fighting for survival, not unlike the early Christian community in Rome, to which His Beatitude will now be united in a profound manner.

After next month's consistory "the College of Cardinals will number 202 members of whom 121, under the age of 80, will be electors." In addition to eighteen new members of the Sacred College who are younger than 80 and, hence, able to vote in any Papal Conclave, bringing the number of electors to one over the self-imposed limit set forth in Pope Paul VI's Romani Pontifici Eligiendo, the Holy Father, in keeping with a tradition established by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, "also decided to elevate to the dignity of cardinal 'three venerable prelates and two worthy priests,' all over the age of 80 and hence non-electors, for their 'commitment and service to the Church.'"

(photograph shamelessly poached from Rocco over at Whispers)


  1. One minor correction regarding Cardinal-Designate DiNardo. He was named Coadjutor in Galveston-Houston almost a year before it became an Archdiocese. (He did go from a Coadjutor Bishop to a Coadjutor Archbishop when the diocese was elevated.)

  2. Thanks! absolutely rocks!!!


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