Tag Archives: Cardinal Martins

US English Translation of 1983 Canon 355 Differs From UK/Irish English Translation

This all boils down as to what is the most appropriate English translation of the Latin ‘antiquior.’

The US English Translation as provided by the Washington, D.C. based Canon Law Society of America (1999) when talking about 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 355 § 1 says:
‘the oldest cardinal from the episcopal order’
. Please see << here >>.

The Vatican provided English translation of John Paul II’s (#265) Universi Dominici Gregis Clause #90 which is talking about the same situation says:
by the senior Cardinal Bishop’. Please see << here >>.

‘Oldest’ and ‘Senior’ when it comes to cardinals is not the same. Right now, when we discount the Dean and Sub-Dean, who are both over 80, Cardinal Martins in the OLDEST, Cardinal Re is the most SENIOR. See the problem.

I have addressed this and much more << here >>

Mr. Andrea Mondello, http://avemundi.host-ed.net/, who has been doing yeoman work helping me out on this, suggested I look at the British/Irish translation.

I found that at: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/canon/c0330-0572.htm#par698

They say, consistent with Universi Dominici Gregis Clause #90, ‘to the senior Cardinal of the episcopal order.

But I am also contending with this June 14, 2010 comment from my friend ‘Stefano’ which says:
{I’ve checked in the Latin-Italian dictionary. Maybe we’re all right, because the difference is very slight.Antiquior is the comparative of “Antiquus”, which means literally “very very old” (ancient, we would say), and – please note, that’s important – is intended to be the opposite of “novus” (= “new).Senior is the comparative of “senex”, meaning just “old” (not “very” old), and is intended to be the opposite of “juvenis” (= young).
So, to sum up the two words respectively mean “far more old” and “more old”. But what really differ is the starting point. Old in front of “new” in the first case and old in front of “young” in the second.
I think that applied in the cardinal precedence all this means that “antiquior” is a cardinal intended within the whole of his canonic curriculum vitae – i.e. a cardinal having been a bishop and a former priest for a much longer time than others. On the contrary, “senior” might be a cardinal which is no longer “young” – so to say – in his order. You see, the ancient languages (especially Greek, but also Latin) where much more profound in such implicit details than the modern ones. All the best and thank you for bouncing me back to my beloved Latin.}



This afternoon (June 14, 2010), I telephoned that Canon Law Society of America.

In 2007, they helped me out. I always go out of my way to be nice to those that help me out.

In 2007, I wanted to be able to quote a Canon in a book. Father Art Espelage, OFM, the then coordinator at the Society helped me out and gave e permission. I never published that book. But, I was always grateful.

When I called up today, I discovered that Father Espelage had left 2 years ago. The new coordinator was a Sister. Sister Sharon, I think.

I gave her the details and backed it up with an email with tons of links.

I also contacted ‘Our Lady’s Warriors’ in the UK.

So, I am doing my utmost to get these translations in line.

Just amuses the HECK out of me. Nobody else spotted these inconsistencies in a decade. Catholic scholarship?

All the best. Thanks. Cheers.


1731 Cardinal Bishop Precedence. We Have THE ANSWER. English Translation Is Wrong!

On May 10, 2010, just over a month ago, I started questioning WHETHER Clement XII’s (#247) January 10, 1731 constitution, Pastorale officium, had been changed post 1913-1914 because if it had not, I could not see how Cardinal Re was deemed to have precedence over Cardinal Arinze.

In the English translation of Pastorale officium it said that in the case of Cardinal Bishops their precedence would be based upon their original date of episcopal consecration.

Once you discounted the Dean and Sub-Dean, Cardinal Re would not have had precedence over Cardinal Arinze per this criteria. This is what was driving me nuts. I live for facts.

So by all means check all my posts. I was very consistent. I kept on asking … did the 1731 rule get changed and if so WHEN? This post, of June 6, 2010, will give you context. PLEASE check all the links. I have NOTHING to hide. I kept on saying … this doesn’t make sense. Tell me what the rules are.

People told me that the 1731 rules got changed in 1917 (Code of Canon Law), 1961, 1962 and 1983 (Code of Canon Law).

I kept of saying I couldn’t find the papal edict. HELP ME!

Somebody, who should have known better, told me to FORGET 1731 because it was an OBSCURE law!

I hit the roof. The 1731 rulings set the basis for all the precedence rules that apply to the College of Cardinals.

But last night, viz. Friday, June 11, 2010, after 48 hours of frantic two-and-fro emailing with a new collaborator in Turin, Italy, we now have an answer.

Mr. Andrea Mondello, http://avemundi.host-ed.net/, PLEASE take a bow. You are a hero. A credit to Italy. THANK YOU, Andrea.

Andrea Mondello who solved the 1731 puzzle

Andrea and I had been communicating via e-mail on papacy-related issues for a couple of weeks. To begin with he sought anonymity. Anybody who has dealt with me knows that I always honor and obey their wishes. Andrea, understood, that I was getting increasingly frustrated with this 1731 ruling issue — especially the lack of ANY HELP from the Church. Thursday night he asked me for details so that he could look into it in Latin. [I have never claimed to even marginally proficient in Latin. Sinhalese was my mother tongue. Now I only speak two languages: reasonably good English with an heavy accent, and extremely foul English, with an ease that baffles most given my usual demeanor, in the rare occasions when I pretend to be angry.]


The English translation of the 1731 Constitution is in error.

What is stated in the 1913 (English) Catholic Encyclopedia, at http://newadvent.org/cathen/03333b.htm, is WRONG!

New Advent, 1731 ruling, screen shot, June 12, 2010. Translation is in error.

This translation, which is wrong, is reproduced in Salvador Miranda’s ‘ The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church‘ Web site,
http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/guide-xviii.htm (as of July 12, 2010):

Salvador Miranda's 'The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church,' screen shot on June 12, 2010 ... referencing the 1731 ruling
Salvador Miranda's 'The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church,' screen shot on June 12, 2010 ... referencing the 1731 ruling

[[ Salvador will rush to update this. So, do a right-click, ‘Page Info’. If what you see is different and the update date is post June 12, 2010, Dear Salvador, has updated the page. ]]


What Andrea found was that the translation is wrong. The Latin does not, in anyway, talk about ‘episcopal consecration.’!

What it does say is that seniority within the order of Cardinal Bishops is based on when one became a Cardinal Bishop.

That makes sense. But it is DIFFERENT to the precedence rules for Cardinals Priests and Deacons. It is NOT when one became a cardinal, it is when one became a Cardinal Bishop.

Per that, Cardinal Re does have precedence over Cardinal Arinze … but NOT if the pope-elect is not a bishop and as such has to be consecrated. That might be Cardinal Martins! The oldest. Yes, we have a translation error here too.

I still have to check Cardinal Villot’s credentials. << please read >> I have yet to locate the announcement on Dec. 12, 1974 which elevated Baggio, Samorè and Villot to that of Cardinal Bishops on the same day. Yes, of the three Villot was the first to be created a cardinal. So that would be the logical tie-breaker — but it would be interesting to see the order in which the name were listed in the Dec. 12, 1974 announcement.


So, I am finally cool. I understand. Thanks to Andrea I got the facts I was seeking.

1731 NEVER did get changed. I am GLAD. I couldn’t find anything that said that it got changed. That was my problem.

So 1731 still rules, but the English translation is wrong.


The Catholic Encyclopedia entry with this WRONG translation has been there for 96 years!

I am the first to have agitated about it. WOW. I feel special.

I know Salvador’s entry has been there for at least 3 years. I learned off the ‘incorrect’ ruling from his Web site.

So all these years. Nobody spotted these errors. Nobody questioned. Just like two years ago, when I first argued that I really can’t find any proof that St. Gregory I the Great (#64) was a Benedictine. There were folks who were very upset with me. I kept on saying … give me proof. With this 1731 rule it was the same. I knew that something was wrong. Andrea solved the mystery.

Thank YOU. Here is a fragment of Andrea’s e-mail FINALLY nailing this issue.

Andrea's pivotal June 11, 2010 email NAILING this issue. Thank YOU.

Hope this is all clear.

To summarize.

Clement XII’s 1731 precedence rules continue to be the basis for precedence within the College.

The English translation WAS WRONG.

The rules for Cardinal Bishops are different.

It is NOT when you first became a cardinal but when you became a Cardinal Bishop.

But, in the absence of the Dean and Sub-Dean, it is the OLDEST cardinal bishop, as opposed to the most senior, that gets to consecrate a pope-elect who is not a bishop. [But, we have a debate on this right now. OLDEST too might be a bad translation! It might be senior …]

Anura Guruge

Does Italian Cardinal Re Really Have Precedence Over Nigerian Cardinal Arinze?

by Anura Guruge

Please read the linked post. Anura Guruge

I still can’t find any reference as to whether the 1731 precedence rules for cardinal bishops got changed at some point post-1913. I have faxed and emailed the Vatican. The head of the Vatican Library gave me the fax number for Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Secretary to the College of Cardinals, and told me to ask him. I did over two weeks ago. I contacted the Holy See Permanent Delegation to the U.N. in New York. I solicited help from two other archbishops. NOTHING.

So, as ever, I have a theory. Maybe I have unearthed a can of worms. MAYBE, the folks had forgotten about the 1731 rule as it applied to cardinal bishops. Lets face it. I have found enough folks who claim to be experts on papal and cardinal stuff that did not know of it. One tried to brush it off as ‘the obscure 1731 ruling.’ Very amusing. That obscure 1731 ruling was what set ALL rules of precedence vis-à-vis the College of Cardinals. So it can’t be that obscure. So my current theory. The 1731 rule was possibly never changed! Hey, it is MY THEORY. Prove me wrong.

Just in case you are new to this please start by reading this post … and the links referenced therein.

The August 1978 conclave, that elected John Paul I (#264), is of particular interest because it was the first instance where both the Dean and Sub-Dean could not participate in a conclave because they were beyond the 80 year cut-off that came into play as of January 1, 1971. The same was true at the October 1978 conclave, but I am willing to believe and concede that whatever took place in the first conclave got repeated at this conclave since the cast of characters was 98% the same. [Both the Dean, the now pope, and the Sub-Dean, Cardinal Angelo Sodano attended the 2005 conclave.]

Until I started to question the precedence issue, it had been taken as a given that the chain-smoking, French Cardinal, Jean-Marie Villot, the Camerlengo and the Secretary of State to the deceased Pope, i.e., Paul VI (#263), had deputized for the Dean (and Sub-Dean). Yes, I myself, state this in my book — because I went by what I had found in other sources. But since I have started question the precedence issue I have emails to prove that the so called definitive lists on who attended the 1978 conclaves might be in doubt!

Given conclave secrecy what do we ACTUALLY know as to who deputized as Dean at the August 1978 conclave.

We actually know very little. Go look. Hardly anybody mentions the Dean or Sub-Dean, or that they had to be deputized, in the context of this conclave.

In this post I enumerate all the duties of the Dean (or his deputy) during a a conclave.

Start looking. All we know, and the original source here appears to be Andrew M. Greely in his 1979 ‘The Making Of the Popes 1978,’ is that Villot is SUPPOSED to have asked Albino Luciani whether he accepts his canonical election as the Supreme Pontiff. Yes, this is a defining task of the Dean. But, do we REALLY know that it was Villot who asked the question? This quote appears in a section of the book which is in bold, italic. Those sections are supposed to be ‘best guess’ conjecture.

So we have two key possibilities:

1/ Greely, who is far from infallible, got it wrong. He assumed that it is the Camerlengo who asks that question. Easy enough ‘confusion.’ Definitely sounds like a task that would be done by the Camerlengo.

2/ Villot, in all the excitement, overstepped his mark. Possible.

To check this out I compiled this table of the four suburbicarian see cardinal bishops that did attend the August 1978 conclave.

Three of the cardinal were appointed cardinal bishops on the same day, viz. December 12, 1974.

But, notice that Villot was the first among those four to be made a cardinal. So he, from pure ‘straight-line’ seniority, had been a cardinal longer than the other three.

Now, per the 1731 precedence rules, ‘straight-line’ seniority is what determines seniority for cardinal priests and cardinal deacons, even once a deacon uses jus optionis to become a cardinal priest.

So … following 1961-1962 did the 1731 precedence for cardinal bishops get changed so that ‘straight-line’ seniority applies across the board. When you are appointed cardinal determines precedence even if you are elevated to a higher order.

So I compiled a similar table for the current suburbicarian see cardinal bishops — under 80.

Draw your own conclusions.

If we go by the 1731 rule it is Cardinal Arinze.

If we go by the first to be made a cardinal, it is again Cardinal Arinze.

If we go by the oldest (per the 1983 Code of Canon Law reference) it would be Cardinal Martins.

Cardinal Re only gets the nod, IF the rule was changed to say, first to be made a cardinal bishop.

So … that is where we are.

Thank. All the best. Enjoy.