Tag Archive | pope

Rome Fell For The Last Time, This Day 147-Years Ago, Paving The Way For Italian Unification — September 20, 1870.

by Anura Guruge



Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_unification



Rome, with the Pope & the Vatican right there, was the last holdout when it came to the by then inevitable unification of the Italy. Hence the significance of this day. Once Rome fell, 147-years ago the Rubicon had been well and truly crossed. Because of religious fervor the pope had to be appeased or at least humored. So, unification dragged onto 1871. But, the popes still claimed to be prisoners of the Vatican.


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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

“Pro Hac Vice” Titles: History and Trivia.

by Anura Guruge


The plain exterior of San Cesareo in Palatio, the FUTURE “John Paul II’s” deaconry when he was created a Cardinal Priest in June 1967 — 11-years ahead of becoming Pope.


Pro hac vice, in the context of the Catholic Church, is when a Roman deaconry (normally to be assigned to a cardinal deacon) is elevated by the pope, for the time being, to the status of a titular church so that it can be assigned to a newly created Cardinal Priest. So, it means that the Cardinal Priest is getting a deaconry that has been ‘elevated for the duration’ to be a titular church. The Latin pro hac vice meaning “for this occasion only” — designating that it is a temporary elevation. In theory you can also have a pro hac vice situation if the pope decides to assign a titular church to a new created Cardinal Deacon.


Which pope held a pro hac vice title when elected?

John Paul II (#265), when elected pope on October 16, 1978.

From what I can see (and I confess I have not done exhaustive research into this topic) John Paul II was the only pope who has had a pro hac vice title.

Again, from what I can see, there is an easy explanation as to why other popes did not hold pro hac vice titles. I really haven’t had a chance to research the history of pro hac vice (and doubt whether I will get a chance to do so in my lifetime). I had assumed that pro hac vice usage came to be with  Paul VI (#263) given that I could not recall seeing any pro hac vice prior to Paul VI (and my memory isn’t that great when it comes to the histories of individual cardinals). I also thought that the reason why Paul may have come with the idea was rather straightforward. I have now been informed that pro hac vice pre-dates Paul VI — though I don’t have a detailed analysis of its prior usage; i.e., was it mainly in the case of jus optionis promotions. If somebody could do this research, I will be extremely grateful.

Sixtus ‘iron pope’ V (#228), the Franciscan, ex-inquisitor general, on December 3, 1586 in his landmark Postquam verus constitution that set the parameters and tone for the College and curia for the next 350 years did as follows. Four months later, in his Religiosa constitution, he clearly articulated that that there should not be any inter-mingling of titles [i.e., churches] and deaconries.

Between 1586 and 1963, the College was maintained at or below, 70 and there was never a shortage of titles and deaconries. So there was no need for pro hac vice — which is mainly used when a pope runs short of cardinal priest titles (though there is nothing to stop a pope creating a cardinal deacon with a pro hac vice title ‘demoted’ to a deaconry).

The came John XXIII (#262). He was a pope in a hurry, with a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve. Without ever putting down anything in writing that he was overriding Sixtus V, he just waived aside Sixtus V’s time-tested edicts re. the College creating titles and deaconries, in a rush, to accommodate his desire to enlarge and diversify the College. Succeeding popes (other than poor John Paul I (#264) who, alas, didn’t get a chance) have followed John’s example with gusto — with none having, at a minimum, the moral fortitude (if not the necessary anatomical appendages) to set a maximum size for the College (and the orders within it) as did the iron pope — given that setting a ceiling would be seen by prelates as an impediment to their progress up the Church ladder.

So, Paul VI resorted to pro hac vice, when he was short on titles.

At this stage it is worth clarifying that the distinction between Pro hac vice, which means for this occasion, and pro illa vice for that occasion. Given this subtle difference in tense, pro hac vice is said to apply to currently living cardinals, while pro illa vice applies to deceased cardinals. But, this convention isn’t strictly maintained and one can think of both terms as being equivalent.


This now brings us to Cardinal Priest Andrzej Maria Deskur’s death on September 3, 2011 — he having been a cardinal with a pro hac vice title. The next day, our frequent contributor, Louis Epstein left a comment that started: ‘Cardinal Deskur (the Pole to whom JP II gave his own old cardinalitial title after a seven-year vacancy) died yesterday.‘ But, there was an interesting twist here not fully reflected in Louis’ comment. Cardinal Deskur died a cardinal priest, but had been created, by his friend, as a cardinal deacon. Karol Józef Wojtyla (John Paul II) could not have been a cardinal deacon since he was mainly a pastoral cleric with only ‘visiting’ roles in the curia. And that was the rub. Karol Wojtyla was created with a pro hac vice title. At the age of 47 years and one month, Wojtyla, the Archbishop of Kraków since 1964, was the 3rd but last cardinal priest named by Paul VI in his June 26, 1967 consistory at which he created 27 new cardinals. This was Paul’s 2nd cardinal creating consistory, he also having created 27 in his first one in February 1965. Quite a few others at this consistory also got pro hav vice titles.


The deaconry assigned to the future pope was San Cesareo in Palatio (in the palace). The Italians (who should know) claim that this is the wrong name! They say, in the Italian version of Wikipedia: ‘The church of San Cesareo de Appia, commonly and erroneously known as San Cesareo in Palatio , is a church of Rome, in the Celio district , near the port of San Sebastian.’ Hhmmm. You would think that the Vatican (though not in Italy per se) would get this right.

The church, whose current structure is from the 17th century, is not very prepossessing from the outside, does, however, have a rather striking mosaic on the altar wall of God the Father among the angels.

As deaconry, it was left unassigned to a cardinal from April 1939 to December 1958 (those being the good ol’ days when there was no mad scramble for titles to accommodate the never ending Red Tide). Then it was assigned to an Italian cardinal, Francesco Bracci. He held it until until his death on March 24, 1967.

Three months later it was assigned to the Archbishop from Poland. He had it for 11 years. When he became pope, he left it unassigned until May 25, 1985 when it was given to Deskur. In January 1996, Deskur chose to be a cardinal priest per jus optionis given that he had completed the requisite 10 years. He then got San Cesareo pro hac vice.

Will be interesting to see who gets it next. I bet it will be a Pole.


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by Anura Guruge

Pius XII (#261) And The Camerlengo.

by Anura Guruge



That Pius XII (#261) was camerlengo when elected pope on Thursday, March 2, 1939, his 63rd birthday, is fairly well known. As far as we know he is the only one elected pope on his birthday, and but just one of three on-duty camerlenghi to be elected pope. Two 13th century popes had been camerlenghi earlier in their careers but had relinquished this office by the time they were elected.

Pius XII was also the Secretary of State (S.S.) when elected. Again, just one of three that were ‘S.S.’ when elected pope.

Pius XII was pope for 7,161 days — 19 years, 7 months, 1 week, the 14th longest papacy to date.

During this fairly lengthy papacy, spanning all of WW II, he only had a Secretary of State for 27.82% of the time — and that was his childhood buddy. That was it. One S.S., for 5 years 5 months, and even that a person he had known since his childhood. When this S.S. died, he never appointed a permanent S.S.


Pop Quiz

So we have the stats for the S.S. What about the Camerlengo?

For what percentage of his 19.58 year tenure did Pacelli have an official Camerlengo (and I stress ‘official’ here because saying that Lehnert was his Vice-Pope (VP) doesn’t count). Have a stab?

9.31%. Yes, 667 days — 1 year, 9 months, 3 weeks and 6 days. That was IT. For the remainder of the 6,494 days, 17.78 years, this office was left vacant.

Ill health was a hallmark of his life. He was quite ill for the last 4 years of his life, hiccuping uncontrollably for much of this time! During this time he had many blood transfusions. But, he still did not appoint a Camerlengo to administer his funeral.

When he died, at Castel Gandolfo, with his quack physician taking pictures of the dying pope (per a commission from the French Match magazine), there was no Camerlengo!


The Dean of the College of Cardinals, the ever impeccable, French, Eugène Tisserant, stepped into the breach and performed the death verification duties of the Camerlengo — though he was probably out-of-order for doing so. What he should have done was to have a Camerlengo elected then and there. In reality they did do that, within the day, giving us then 79.3 year old Benedetto Aloisi Masella who would hold that post until he died in September 1970 aged 91.3. [He would have had to have relinquished the post in 3 months as Paul VI’s (#263), 80-year rules were about to kick-in on January 1, 1971. But, he died before the cut-off was even announced in November of 1970.]

Not appointing a S.S. or a Camerlengo does speak to Pius XII’s weak personality — not to mention his conspicuous reluctance to create cardinals. He was obviously an extremely insecure man. Who he did appoint for short stints as S.S. and Camerlengo are also telling. One was a childhood friend, the other was the Major Penitentiary. The M.P. is one office that the pope has to keep filled. So he makes that the Camerlnego too. Very strange. Very sad.

I am always perplexed when people assert that he was a ‘good’ pope. So today I checked. Richard P. McBrien in HIS ratings of the popes totally omits Pius XII. That alone speaks volumes. He doesn’t even get a mention as a historically important pope. Well in this case I am with McBrien.


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by Anura Guruge

Finally End-Gaming My Once Highly Popular “Popes and Papacy” Website/Blog.

by Anura Guruge


Click image to access the “Popes and Papacy” Website while it is still up.


Click to ENLARGE and marvel. These the stats for February 10, 2013 to March 30, 2013 — viz. Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation and Pope Francis’ election. 168,000 hits during those 6-weeks. 14,702 hits on the day of the resignation. Those were the glory days.


This during 2012 — 2013 was my PRIMARY blog — as opposed to this one. I put in a TON of work into it, working on it 4 – 6 hours a day. It had nearly 1,500 posts — and over 760,000 hits.

But it was really my “Next Pope (after Benedict XVI)” blog — to go with my “Next Pope 2011” book.

Once Francis was elected — and I did correctly identify him as a potential next pope — I kind of lost enthusiasm. My job was done. I wanted to move onto other greener pastures, e.g., orgasms, meditation and chronic pain. Plus, this blog was ‘taking off‘ — with around the same number of hits per day.

So, as I have done with so many other blogs I basically abandoned it. So for the last 4 years it has been ticking along because of the wealth of posts that were already in there.

But, keeping it going is becoming an issue — and cost is NOT one of them, though bloody GoDaddy charges me two arms and two legs for it. A lot has to do with security and I just am not willing to expend the efforts needed to button down all the hatches that I am supposed to.

So I am in the process of closing it down.

Hence the flood of ‘papal’ posts you have seen in the last week. {Smile}

I am transitioning over all the valuable, in many instances unique posts. I have also already deleted nearly 200 posts. Hopefully I will be done by October 2017.

So, now you know what all the new papal posts are about.

Enjoy.


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by Anura Guruge

College of Cardinals, Pre- and Post WWII Pope, Pius XII.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE and study.


One of this controversial pope’s many foibles was that he appeared not to think that highly of cardinals in general. Though he was pope for nearly 20-years he created but 56 cardinals — in just 2 consistories. Two consistories in 19.6 years! And WW II alone can’t be used as an excuse. Study my Excel spreadsheet above. Intriguing.


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by Anura Guruge

Fascinating Story About How Prior Pope Benedict XVI’s Parents Met In The 1920s.

by Anura Guruge


It is a cute, but true, story from 2006 which needs to be preserved. It is from my favorite daily paper, the U.K. “Daily Mail“, which I used to read everyday when I lived in the UK — and now read online everyday.

Wonder how many people know of this story. Real nice. The pope’s father appears to have waited a long time; 43-years prior to this marriage! Was he previously married?

Click to access UK Daily Mail 2006 story.


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by Anura Guruge

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