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Tag Archive | consistory

The 4 ‘Irregular’ Cardinal Bishops Created By Pope Francis On June 28, 2018.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.


Click to ENLARGE. The Vatican announcement on June 26, 2018. From the Vatican, of course.


I was vacationing in Acadia last week and only heard about this ‘irregularity’ when a follower of this blog asked for my opinion on the matter via a comment. I looked it up. My first reaction was shock and disappointment. This iconoclastic pope had arbitrarily put asunder a much cherished and venerated tradition going back to 769 AD (i.e., 1,249 years ago). One of my ex papal collaborators talking about this in an e-mail characterized it as: “how the never-met-an-applecart-he-wouldn’t-upset Pope“.

Click to ENLARGE. From my ‘The Next Pope 2011’ book. Click on image at the bottom to get a copy.


But, then I got thinking and Acadia, where I hike incessantly, is a great place to ponder such things.

What is upsetting ‘us’ is the change because whatever folks say most people don’t at heart believe in “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“. So, I decided to look beyond just the disconcertment caused by this change.

Yes, of course, the seven suburbicarian sees, i.e., the seven Catholic dioceses surrounding Rome, are real, but that in the end is also somewhat artificial in the scheme of things post 1163 when Pope Alexander III (#171) introduced the notion of TITULAR cardinals, i.e., cardinals that were assigned a ‘Roman’ dioceses though they were NOT the bishop of that diocese. Today, (and I have not checked of late) nearly every cardinal, irrespective of whether a Cardinal Bishop, Cardinal Priest or Cardinal Deacon, is TITULAR, i.e, they do not actually perform any day-to-day diocesan duties in the see that has been given to them. This becoming the case for ALL the suburbicarian sees and their Cardinal Bishops as of 1910. So, as of 1163 the entire notion of cardinals has been compromised, diluted and abstracted. So, to I, that was the beginning of a very slippery road (with many arcane twists and turns). This move by Pope Francis just another of those twists.

Furthermore, the stratification of the cardinals is purely for ceremonial purposes, i.e., who goes ahead of another in processing and when they vote at a conclave. Other than that, when it comes to power and influence, all cardinals are meant to be equal. So, there is that.

Then there is the whole ‘Rome has spoken, case is closed‘ aspect. The pope is the world’s ultimate autocrat. When it comes to Catholicism and the Catholic Church he can really do whatever he wants. There are no checks and balances. The College of Cardinals CANNOT veto a papal decision. Moreover, of all matters Catholic, there is nothing more arbitrary and capricious as the College of Cardinals. Popes CREATE cardinals — and that it is called ‘creates’ is very significant. The College is also very much a creation of the popes. The popes can do whatever when it comes to cardinals and the College.

Pope Paul VI (#263) in 1970 decreed that cardinals over the age of 80 could no longer participate in conclaves. That was an artificial restriction. Three years later he mandated that only 120 cardinals can participate in a conclave. Since then every succeeding pope (bar the 33-day John Paul I (#264) has exceeded the 120 cardinal elector limit though we have yet to have a conclave when that number has been greater than 120. So, popes have had their merry way with the College.

This is but the latest example. So, after much reflection, I came to the conclusion that while it is ‘irregular’ there is nothing wrong with what the pope did!

I, however, will have more posts on this topic since there are other implications.


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by Anura Guruge

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The 14 Cardinal Designates, Announced By Pope Francis, For The June 29, 2018 Consistory — By Br. César J. Tobón, L.C.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE — original Spanish version. See below for English.


Click to ENLARGE — original English version


Another incomparably well-designed new-cardinal graphic by Br. César J. Tobón of Mexico who has provided us with a similar, and much appreciated, graphics ahead of other cardinal creating consistories and whenever there has been major changes to the Roman curia. His beautiful work is always a joy to behold and an honor to present.


Here is a segment of the translated, official Vatican announcement. That will help with the names and titles:

Click to ENLARGE. Use link below for the Vatican original.

Click here for the Vatican original.


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by Anura Guruge

Following Cardinal Caffarra’s Death Today, Cardinal Electors Down To The Legit 120.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.


Click to access the original at the “National Catholic Reporter” (NCR).


Following Pope Francis’ very unusual cardinal creating consistory of June 28, 2017, where he created 5 new Cardinal Electors, there were 121 Cardinal Electors.

That was one more that the 120 Cardinal Electors currently permitted by Papal Decree from participating in a conclave.

I have always been against pope’s exceeding this 121 limit for a very good reason. It would create an unprecedented situation if a conclave had to be held unexpectedly (following a sudden death) and before the deceased pope got around to doing something about increasing the 120 limit.

What was real strange about this 121 figure was that there were NO upcoming 80th birthdays until February 3, 2018. That meant we would have gone for an unprecedented (again) 220 days (i.e., 7 months) with the cardinal elector level above 120 — UNLESS a cardinal, under 80-years of age, were to die. And I am always careful to specify that — i.e., barring deaths. I had wondered if there were any under-80 cardinals who were known to be on their last legs. There appeared not to be any.

And then, 70-days after the consistory, 79-year old Italian Cardinal, Carlo Caffarra dies. All the reports say SUDDENLY — but they also add that “after a long illness“. So, what is the story. Did Francis know that Caffarra would die within 90-days? The pope, in theory, does have some very good contacts high up.

Ironically, Caffarra was one of 4 of his MOST ARDENT critics. But another died in July 2017 and now Caffarra. So, 2 of the 4 have died! Coincidence? {Smile}


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by Anura Guruge

Pope Francis’ June 28, 2017 Cardinal Creating Consistory: What Makes It Unusual.

by Anura Guruge



There are a number of things that make this consistory stand-out from the last 17 spanning 38 years.

So let’s look at what makes this consistory somewhat unusual, and as such, special.

  1. It is the SMALLEST consistory, in terms of cardinals being created, since Paul VI’s last one in 1977 when only four cardinals were created — but Paul VI, who instituted both the 120 elector limit and the 80-year ‘cut-off’, never exceeded the 120 limit or created any cardinals who were over 80. Benedict XVI, in his last cardinal creating consistory in November 2012, three-months ahead of his resignation, created 6 cardinals — that being the maximum he could create if he were not to exceed the 120-limit.
  2. The first consistory since March 2006 NOT to be held on a Saturday — the last 7 consistories, four of Benedict XVI’s and three of Francis’ all being Saturday consistories with the celebratory Mass being held on Sunday.
    ….
  3. The first consistory, since John Paul II’s 8th consistory on February 21, 2001 to be held on a Wednesday.
    ….
  4. The first consistory since 1991 to be held on June 28. There is a significance to June 28th. The ‘Feast of Saints Peter and Paul‘, Rome’s two founding Apostles, falls, each year, on June 29. So, by having the consistory on June 28, the Vatican can have the celebratory Mass on this special Feast day. This, as such, is thus a ‘Feast of Saints Peter and Paul‘ consistory. John Paul II was found of such consistories. His 1988 cardinal creating consistory, the one before the 1991 one, was also a June 28 affair. His first ever was on June 30, the day after the feast. Paul VI held two consistories very close to this feast.
    ….
  5. Will create the first ever cardinals from first cardinals from El SalvadorLaosMali, and Sweden — as well as the from all of Scandinavia! That is pretty impressive.
    ….
  6. Bishop José Gregorio Rosa Chávez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador will become the FIRST AUXILIARY BISHOP to be created a cardinal!His superior the Titular Bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador is NOT a cardinal.
    ….
  7. First of Francis’ consistories not to create a curial cardinal. (This was also true of Benedict XVI’s last consistory).
    ….
  8. First of Francis’ consistories not to create an over-80, non-elector cardinal. (This was also true of Benedict XVI’s last consistory). This is incongruous. There are no limits as to the non-electors and he could have created as many as he wanted.
    ….
  9. Barring deaths, there will be 121 cardinal electors following this consistory — and that number will not drop to the CONCLAVE-VALID 120 till February 2018. This would indicate, unless the Pope is aware of a very ill under-80 cardinal, that the Pope does not foresee a conclave ahead of February 2018.After Francis’ 1st cardinal creating consistory there were 122 electors; 125 after the 2nd and 121 after the 3rd. So he has always gone over the 120 limit.….

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by Anura Guruge

Ahead Of Pope Francis’ June 28, 2017 Cardinal Creating Consistory — A List Of All 61 Prior Consistories Since 1900.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.



I had let this very informative Cardinal Creating Consistory Excel spreadsheet lapse after Pope Benedict XVI’s last in November 2012. That it was out-of-date always bothered me. So, I rectified that over the last few days. I also rationalized and simplified it. There is more work required BUT this is good start for this version.

I wanted to share it with you. Shows some interesting trends.

I plan to do more posts specific to the upcoming June 28, 2017 consistory over the next few days. So, stay tuned.


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by Anura Guruge

Is the June 28, 2017 Cardinal Creating Consistory To Be Pope Francis’ Last — Before He Resigns?

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.


This, by any standard, was a surprise, ‘snap’ announcement of a consistory. There was no need for one at this time — in that the cardinal-electors at 97% of full.

That he announced 5 and just 5 is intriguing.

As the graphic above clearly shows, barring any deaths, this means that there will be 121 electors until early February 2018.

IF there were to be a conclave prior to that having 121 cardinal electors would be a problem — as I have discussed many, many times.

The last time we had such a small number of cardinals created was in November 2012 — three months ahead of Benedict XVI announcing his resignation!

I have a feeling that there is SOME significance to this consistory.

Many things are strange and different! More on that soon.


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by Anura Guruge

The 5 Cardinal Designates, Announced By Pope Francis, For The June 28, 2017 Consistory — By Br. César J. Tobón, L.C.

by Anura Guruge



Another masterful new-cardinal graphic by Br. César J. Tobón of Mexico who has provided us with a similar, and much appreciated, graphics ahead of other cardinal creating consistories and whenever there has been major changes to the Roman curia. His beautiful work is always a joy to behold and an honor to present.

This was a cardinal creating consistory announcement out-of-the blue. Many unusual features and I will do a post on them.

Though this graphic is in Spanish it should be easy enough to decipher.

The five designated cardinals are:

Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako, Mali.

Juan Josè Omella Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain.

Anders Arborelius, O.C.D., Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden.

Loius Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, of the Institute Voluntas Dei, Titular Bishop of Acque Nuove di Proconsulare, Apostolic Vicar of Paské, Laos.

Gregorio Rosa Chávez, Titular Bishop of Mulli, auxiliary of San Salvador, El Salvador.


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by Anura Guruge

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