Tag Archives: Dean of the College of Cardinals

There Was No Dean Of the College of Cardinals Prior to 1150

I am sorry, I do not care what you dig up on the Web that contradicts this … BUT there was NO Dean of the College of Cardinals prior to 1150.

A very straightforward reason for this. There was NO College of Cardinals prior to 1150. So you couldn’t have a Dean of an institution that wasn’t in existence.

People get confused about this and I can empathize. Most assume that there has always been a College since the notion of cardinals came to be. [Then again, I had MD from Canada, who, yesterday, got very confused between conclaves and consistories!]

Please check out this post at popes and papacy for more information on this topic.

Thank you.
Anura Guruge

Here is an example of somebody getting this wrong.

Precedence Among Cardinal Bishops

by Anura Guruge

Five Related Articles: 1. Over 80 Rule 2. Dean may be excluded
3. Camerlengo and The Major Penitentiary
4. The Next Conclave — Those That Will Officiate
5. Follow-up to Precedence Among Cardinal Bishops
6. College of Cardinals, the jus optionis preferment rules

This all has to do with precedence within the College of Cardinals, particularly come a conclave, and you should please refer to the above 4 articles for more background and context.

The Dean of the College of Cardinals and the Sub-Dean of the College, both of who have to be Cardinal Bishops, are the two most senior members of the College, by definition.

On February 24, 1965, Pope Paul VI (#263) with motu proprio, Sacro Cardinalium Consilio, decreed that seniority would no longer be the basis for who would be the Dean and Sub-Dean of the College of Cardinals when these posts became vacant (though this long standing tradition had been incorporated into the 1917 Code of Canon Law). Instead, when a new Dean or Sub-Dean was required, the cardinals bishops would elect one from among their ranks – independent of seniority, albeit subject to the person elected being approved by the pope.

[What motivated Paul to make this change is unknown. It was a full 5 years prior to his momentous Ingravescentem aetatem motu proprio, that deemed that starting January 1, 1971, cardinals over the age of eighty would not be eligible to participate in a conclave and thus be papal electors. By making it possible for the Dean and the Sub-Dean not to be the oldest, this change made it possible that the Dean and Sub-Dean had a shot at attending a conclave — as was the case when the then Dean, Cardinal Ratzinger [now, Pope Benedict XVI (#266), attended as a 78 year old. However, the Dean nor the Sub-Dean could attend either of the 1978 conclaves since they were both over 80.]


But in addition to the Dean and Sub-Dean, we have 4 other suburbicarian see Cardinals Bishops and three (or possibly more) Oriental Rites Patriarchs.

This posting is all about the precedence among the 4 other Cardinal Bishops — since the one with most precedence will deputize for the Dean and Sub-Dean if both of them are precluded from participating in a conclave — which is the case right now, since both incumbents are over 80. Please refer to article #4 in the list at the top.

Per another Paul VI 1965 motu proprio, this one, Ad Purpuratorum Patrum, on February 11, it had been established that the Oriental Rites Patriarchs, would always be classed as Cardinal Bishops, but would be ranked below the Cardinal Bishops who had title to a suburbicarian see.

So far, so good. Right? But, this where it starts getting complicated and, alack, messy.


In the case of Cardinal Priests and Cardinal Deacons precedence within the College is determined by when they were created a cardinal (even when a cardinal deacon, after 10 years as a cardinals, requests an elevation to the order of Cardinal Priests). Makes sense. This is the seniority-based precedence that applies in most organizations.

However, there was a January 10, 1731 constitution by Pope Clement XII (#247), Pastorale officium, that said DIFFERENT when it came to Cardinal Bishops. In its §5 it said that in the case of Cardinal Bishops their precedence would be based upon their original date of episcopal consecration.

In the Latin it goes as: ‘Quod vero attinet ad alteram controversiam, aliàs circa ipsum decanatum excitatam, num scilicet in eius assecutione cardinalis anterior in ordine episcopali, sed posterior in cardinalatu, praeferendus esset cardinali posteriori in ordine episcopali, sed anteriori in cardinalatu, declarationem a Benedicto praedecessore in litteris suis praefatis desuper editam tenore praesentium approbantes, pro maiori illius firmitate ac potiori cautelb, iterum statuimus, antiquitatem inter episcopos cardinales in dictâ Curiâ praesentes non esse metiendam sive ducendam a tempore suae promotionis ad cardinalatus honorem, sed a tempore eorum ingressus in ordinem episcopalem, itaut decanatus eiusdem sacri collegii ad antiquiorem in ordine episcopali, tametsi posteriorem in cardinalatu, pervenire debeat, et qui prius alicui ex dictis sex ecclesiis suburbicariis praefectus fuerit, praeferatur in assecutione decanatus huiusmodi alteri, qui ante ipsum ad cardinalatus dignitatem promotus fuisset.’

The 1913-1914 Catholic Encyclopedia, which didn’t get much wrong, now available online at www.newadevent.com, confirms this precedence for the Cardinal Bishops. You can find it in the last paragraph here, and you will see that it clearly reference the 1731 constitution — including §5.

Thus, we know, incontrovertibly, that the 1731 precedence ruling applied, at a minimum, between 1731 and 1913.

At the time Clement XII would have sought this rule of precedence for Cardinal Bishops, you did not have to be a priest, let alone a bishop to be made a Cardinal Deacon. Then, per the preferment rules of that time cardinal deacons could, using jus optionis, seek to become Cardinal Bishops after ten years — of if you were the senior most Cardinal Deacon, the third time a suburbicarian see became available during his tenure as a cardinal.

If you look at Web sites that lists cardinals, particularly in the context of conclaves, between 1731 and 1913, you will discover, to your dismay, that they do NOT reflect the Cardinal Bishop precedence rule. So much for veracity. No excuses. No caveats. We know, for a fact, that the 1731 rule applied up to 1913. So, if people didn’t pay heed to it … they GOOFED. Simple as that.

So far, so good? Get it? 1731 precedence for Cardinal Bishops applied, without exception till at least 1913 since the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia quotes the rule without ambiguity.


A number of us spent much of yesterday afternoon looking. We can not find a papal edict that changed the 1731 ruling. You would have to have a papal edict to change it.

It is unlikely to have been changed by the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Nothing had changed between 1731 and 1917 when it came to Cardinal Bishops to motivate such a change, though the 1917 Law required that all cardinals be priests, at a minimum.

It was in 1962 that John XXIII (#262) issued a motu proprio requiring that all cardinals be consecrated as bishops — unless an explicit dispensation was provided by the pope.

But, in 1961, John XXIII made another major change. This time to the jus optionis rules related to preferment. The senior most Cardinal Priest nor Cardinal Deacon could no longer seek elevation to be a Cardinal Bishop. The pope had total prerogative as to how he filled a vacant a suburbicarian see. He could create a new Cardinal Bishop or elevate an existing cardinal. However, the motu proprio, Ad suburbicarias dioeceses, that implemented this change does not mention that the rules of precedence were changed. But, as of these two 1961-1962 it would make sense if precedence for Cardinal Bishops were aligned with those for the other cardinals.

Yes, after this juncture it would make sense if the 1731 ruling was annulled and Cardinal Bishops, like the other cardinals, enjoyed precedence based on simple seniority as to when they were created.

BUT, we can’t find any papal edicts stating this.


Yesterday afternoon there was a flurry of activity on this front (because a person, IGNORANT of the 1731 ruling, questioned me as to the precedence of Cardinal Bishops).

My friend, Salvador Miranda, who runs the incomparable ‘Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church,‘ made this annotation to reflect what is going on.

Mr. Miranda is using the Annuario Pontificio as to why he no longer reflects the 1731 rule. [But, the 1731 rule is a lso not reflected between 1731 and 1913 … let alone 2006.]

The Annuario Pontificio, as far as I know,is NOT a Vatican publication. They can’t change the rules. Actually neither can the Vatican per se. Precedence can only be changed by a pope.

There is a LOT of confusion here.

What I am doing is giving YOU all the facts … as I can find.

In my limited experience, Rome might be good at many things, but competence isn’t one of them. < smile, smile > Just go check their College of Cardinal statistics. If they can’t get those right, I can envisage that they could also have overlooked the 1731 rule.

Basically, this ongoing. I have no axe to grind. I am only interested in accuracy, veracity and credibility. IF you can help, PLEASE do so.

Many thanks.

Please also read this May 15, 2010 Follow-Up Article.

The Next Conclave — Those That Will Officiate

by Anura Guruge

Four Related Articles: 1. Over 80 Rule 2. Dean may be excluded
3. Camerlengo and The Major Penitentiary

4. Precedence Among Cardinal Bishops

This is the fourth (and hopefully last) article in a series about those that can participate in the next conclave — promoted by the London Times howler on May 10, 2010 that talked about Cardinal Sodano, as the Dean, attending the next conclave — though he is already 82, and thus two years over the mandatory, inviolable 80 year cut-off for conclave participation.

Please refer to the three articles referenced above for more details on conclave participating, role delegation and rules of precedence.

This is the list of the ‘Officers,’ both cardinals and non-cardinals, that will officiate at the next conclave (if it were to be held in the ‘near’ future with 80 denoting 80-year cut-off.]

CARDINALS:
1. Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. 80, NOT-deputizable.
College of Cardinals will have to elect a new, but interim, Camerlengo.
—-current: Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone [b. Dec. 2, 1934], 75.
Can participate and do so for the next 5 years.

2. Dean of the College of Cardinals. 80, Deputizable by Vice-Dean
(or next most senior Cardinal Bishop)
—-current: Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano [b. Nov. 23, 1927], 82.
Cannot participate.

3. Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals. 80, Deputizable by senior most Cardinal Bishop present
—-current: French Cardinal Roger
Etchegaray [b. Sep. 25, 1922], 87.
Cannot participate.

4. Senior most Cardinal Bishop (after Vice-Dean). 80, Deputizable by next in line per precedence … even if it is the senior most Cardinal Priest present
—-current: Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re
[b. Jan. 30, 1934], 76.
Can participate and do so for the next 4 years.
[Earlier confusion as to whether Cardinal Re actually was the most senior had to do with a hitherto undetected translation error in the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia! Please read << this >>]

5. Senior most Cardinal Priest. 80, Deputizable by next in line per precedence within the order of Cardinal Priests
[in contrast to the case with Cardinal Bishops, it is impossible to envisage a conclave with no Cardinal Priests.]

—-current: Brazilian Cardinal Eugênio de Araújo Sales [b. Nov. 8, 1920], 89.
Cannot participate.

At present the senior most Cardinal Priest under 80 is Belgium Cardinal Godfried Danneels [b. June 4, 1933]. << Thanks Marko >>

6. Senior most Cardinal Deacon. 80, Deputizable by next in line per precedence within the order of Cardinal Deacons
[though improbable, in theory, it would be possible to have a conclave with no Cardinal Deacons in attendance. If this ever happened, the junior most cardinal priest would have to perform the roles expected of the senior most Cardinal Deacon]

—-current: Italian Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan [b. Aug. 4, 1926], 83.
Cannot participate.

At present the senior most Cardinal Deacon under 80 is Italian Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani [b. Apr. 11, 1931].  << Thanks Marko >>
—-


MAJOR PENITENTIARY
Is not always a cardinal — as is the case right now. Not permitted within the conclave unless he is an under-80 cardinal.
If post is vacant prior to or if the incumbent dies during the sede vacante the College of Cardinals via a secret ballot will elect one of their own as the interim Major Penitentiary. It does not stipulate that they have to elect one who is under-80. If the incumbent dies during the conclave, the cardinal electors, in conclave, will, most likely, elect one of their own as the stand-in.

1. Major Penitentiary.
80, NOT-Deputizable. Not required within conclave
—-current: Italian Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli
[b. Aug. 6, 1935].
Cannot participate since he is NOT a cardinal.
—–


VICARS GENERAL & CARDINAL ARCHPRIEST, VATICAN BASILICA
The Cardinal Vicar General of Rome, the Cardinal Vicar General for Vatican City and the Cardinal Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica retain their posts during the sede vacante.
Upon being notified by the Camerlengo, the Cardinal Vicar General of Rome has the responsibility of informing the people of Rome as to the
sede vacante.
None of these three, however, have any specific duties to perform within a conclave.
If there is no Vicar General of Rome during the
sede vacante his duties will automatically be performed by the Vice-Vicar, i.e., the Vicegerent. If there is no Vicegerent, then the senior most auxiliary bishop of Rome steps in.
The Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, does not specify what needs to be done if there is no Vicar General for Vatican City or a Cardinal Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica. One assumes that a non-cardinal deputy will do the needful until a replacement is appointed by the new pope.

The pope can appoint non-cardinals to all three of these posts. Vicar General of Vatican City may also be Archpriest of the Basilica.

1. Vicar General of Rome. 80, Deputizable from within the see of Rome. Not required within conclave
—-current: Italian Cardinal Agostino Vallini [b. Apr. 17, 1940]. 70

Can participate and do so for the next ten years.

2. Vicar General for Vatican City. 80, Deputizable from within the Vatican City hierarchy. Not required within conclave
—-current: Italian Cardinal Angelo Comastri
[b. Sep. 14, 1943], 66.
Can participate and do so for the next fourteen years.

3. Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica. 80, Deputizable from within the Vatican City or Basilica hierarchy. Not required within conclave
—-current: Italian Cardinal Angelo Comastri [b. Sep. 14, 1943], 66. << same as above >>
Can participate and do so for the next fourteen years.


NON-CARDINALS

These officials are required to participate within the conclave, BUT since they are not cardinals they cannot vote nor be in the Sistine Chapel when ballots are being cast.
Since they are not cardinals, and as such non-electors, their age is immaterial.


1. Secretary of the College of Cardinals. If needed, a temporary deputy will be appointed by the College, if needed
—-current: Italian Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro
.
Cannot cast any votes or be in the Sistine Chapel when the electors are voting.

2. Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations. If needed, a temporary deputy will be appointed by the College, most likely from within the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff
—-current: Italian Monsignor Guido Marini
.
[He is not related to his predecessor, Piero Marini who held this post from 1997 to 2007]

Cannot cast any votes or be in the Sistine Chapel when the electors are voting.


There are a few others that attend, such as two Masters of Ceremonies, an assistant to the ‘Dean,’ a contingent of Confessors etc., but these are not ‘officers’ per se and are chosen prior to the conclave. Thus their names are not known ahead of a conclave.

The Next Conclave — The Camerlengo and The Major Penitentiary

by Anura Guruge

Related Articles: 1. Over 80 Rule &    2. Dean may be excluded

This is the third article in a series about those that can participate in the next conclave — promoted by the London Times blooper that had Cardinal Sodano, as the Dean, attending the next conclave — though he is already 82, and thus two years over the mandatory, inviolable 80 year cut-off for conclave participation.

If the Dean of the College, the Vice Dean, the senior most Cardinal Priest or the senior most Cardinal Deacon cannot participate in a conclave, the senior most of that ‘order’ automatically deputizes for the absent member without incident. This has already happened since the 80 year cut-off rule came into play as of January 1971 — in particular during the two 1978 conclaves.

There are, however, two exceptions that have to be considered, the Cardinal Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church and the Major Penitentiary. Both of specific duties that have to be performed right through the sede vacante — with it being imperative that the Camerlengo is present within the conclave since he has to head up the Particular Congregations held within the conclave to handle ad hoc logisticsal and procedural issues.

The Camerlengo
The Camerlengo is essentially the master of ceremonies during the sede vacante. Conclave protocol requires the camerlengo to be present within the conclave to mastermind and handle certain procedural issues — e.g., whether the electors can take a break between the two ballots that make up a session etc.

The rules are also such that the 80 year cut-off will still apply to the Camerlengo.

Hence, the modern practice is that the Camerlengo will resign when he turns 80. Spanish Cardinal Eduardo Somalo, who was the Camerlengo at the 2005 conclave, resigned on April 4, 2007 — 4 days after his 80th birthday. The prior Camerlengo, Italian Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, died a couple of months short of his 80th birthday. The one before that, Cardinal Bertoli resigned at 77 while his predecessor, the storied Cardinal Jean-Marie Villot died at 73 a year after his gallant efforts acting as Camerlengo in both of the 1978 conclaves.

The current Camerlengo is Italian Cardinal Bertone who is currently 75 (b. December 2, 1934).

If a Camerlengo had turned 80 prior to the sede vacante, he would have to resign prior to the conclave. The College of Cardinals will then elect, via secret ballot, one of the cardinal electors, to act as an interim Camerlengo — to serve until the election of the new pope. The Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, already has a provision to handle this.

There is a Vice-Camerlengo. But, the Vice-Camerlengo is not a cardinal. He is a member of the Apotolic Camera that administers papal finances. Given that he is not a cardinal, the Vice-Camerlengo cannot deputize for the Camerlengo per se during the sede vacante or within the conclave. Since only a pope can creates cardinals, the Vice-Camerlengo cannot be promoted during a sede vacante.

The Major Penitentiary
The Church requires a Major Penitentiary to be available at all times to mediate in matters of mercy.

Though the Major Penitentiary is usually a cardinal, this does not always have to be the case. Right now the Major Penitentiary, or to be precise the Pro-Major Penitentiary, Fortunato Baldelli, is not a cardinal.  Thus, if there was to be a conclave he would not be attending. This also tells us that unlike with the Camerlengo it is not imperative that the Major Penitentiary is present at the conclave.

In theory, the Major Penitentiary as the head of curial dicastery must tender his resignation at 75 — though a pope can continue to retain him in that job as long as he wants, irrespective of age. [A Camerlengo, though usually the head of the Apostolic Camera, can be a camerlengo without heading up a curial dicastery. Thus, the 75 year rule does not apply to that poet.]

If the Major Penitentiary is over 80 at the start of the sede vacante, it would appear that he could continue to serve until the new pope is elected — though he will not be able to participate in the conclave. In this respect it would be the same as having a non-cardinal Major Penitentiary.

However, if something happens to the Major Penitentiary just prior to or during the sede vacante it is incumbent on the College of Cardinals to promptly elect a new one, via secret ballot. In this instance, the new Major Penitentiary has to be a cardinal — thought it does not stipulate that he has to be a cardinal elector [i.e., under 80]

*********

The secret ballots used to elect a Camerlengo or Major Penitentiary during the sede vacante are not contingent on an absolute majority, as is the case with electing the pope. However gets the most votes wins. If there is a tie, the senior most cardinal, in terms of precedence within the College, gets the nod. All cardinals, irrespective of age, can vote in these elections if they take place outside the conclave. If the ballot has to be conducted within the conclave, for example if the Camerlengo dies during a conclave, only the cardinal electors will be able to participate since the older cardinals will be cut-off from them.

The Next Conclve — Implications Of The You Have To Be Under 80 Rule

by Anura Guruge

RELATED ARTICLE < please refer >

The recent fallacy in the London Times (Online) that the 82-year old Cardinal Sodano,  the Dean of the College of Cardinals, will be at the next conclave highlighted that conclave protocol is a mystery to most. I addressed the errors in the Times statement in this May 10 post.

Cardinal Sodano, despite being the Dean, will not be able to attend the conclave because he is over 80 and therefore automatically and inexorably excluded from being a papal elector (and thus being able to participate in a conclave).

Nothing, whether it be title, office or seniority, takes precedence over the 80 year cut-off rule for papal electors implemented by Paul VI (#263) in 1970 with his Ingravescentem aetatem motu proprio.

Thus, if the Dean of the College of Cardinals has reached his eightieth birthday prior to the start of the sede vacante he will not be permitted to participate in the sequestered conclave. There are no ifs and buts. A Dean who is over 80 cannot participate in a conclave. PERIOD.

As I point out in my earlier posting this happened in both the 1978 conclaves — the first to be held since the 80 year cut-off came into play.

The same applies to the Vice-Dean. He can only attend if he is under 80. In 1978, the Vice-Dean, again on both occasions could not attend.

[In 1965 Paul VI had also changed the mechanism as to who would be the Dean and Vice-Dean. Previously it had been based on seniority within the College, the Senior most automatically becoming Dean or Vice-Dean when these posts became vacant. As of 1965 the Cardinal Bishops would elect one from within their ranks, independent of seniority — albeit subject to the pope approving the selection.]

Not having the Dean or the Vice-Dean in attendance at a conclave is not even an inconvenience, let alone an impediment.

If the Dean is not present, the Vice-Dean will deputize for him. If they are both not present, the senior most Cardinal Bishop will act as the surrogate for the Dean. Please refer my earlier posting for the list of functions performed by the Dean (or his deputy).

[In theory it is possible to envisage a conclave with no Cardinal Bishops in attendance, due to age and illness — given that there can only be 9 Cardinal Bishops per the current framework. If that were to happen the senior most Cardinal Priest will become the de facto Dean. This is the beauty of precedence within the College. Again Please refer my earlier posting so I do not have to repeat myself here. Better still, read page 125 to 127 of ‘The Next Pope‘ on Google Books or Amazon.]

The senior most cardinal deacon is a busy beaver during the conclave. He has to pick names, he has to man the door, he has to summon non-cardinals, he has to make the Habemus Papam announcement etc.

But as with the Dean and Vice-Dean, if the senior most cardinal deacon of the College is unable to attend the conclave, then the senior most cardinal deacon present automatically performs all the duties without comment.

If a new pope has not been elected after the fourth day of the conclave, there is per Universi Dominici Gregis ‘time-out’ stipulations a brief hiatus followed by a spiritual exhortation by the senior most cardinal priest present. And that basically is the MO when it comes to conclave protocol. Precedence, precedence, precedence with the senior most present doing the honors — with BUT one, unique, exception. That being the Camerlengo. If the existing Camerlengo cannot attend the conclave (or becomes incapacitated during the conclave), the College of Cardinals will have to elect a new one prior to (or during) the conclave via a secret ballot — with the person getting the most votes, irrespective of majority, becoming the new Camerlengo. The Dean (or his deputy) will stand-in for the Camerlengo while the new one is being elected.

Another two posting to follow.

TIMES Online (UK) Is WRONG About Cardinal Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals

In the Times Online May 10, 2010 article, ‘Archbishop of Vienna accuses one of Pope’s closest aides of abuse cover-up,‘ chronicling papabile Cardinal Schönborn’s charges against Cardinal Sodano over the weekend, it states:
“Cardinal Sodano is now Dean of the College of Cardinals and as such due to convene and chair the conclave to elect the next Pope. The row thus pitches the man in charge of the next papal election against one of the leading contenders.”

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

I am kind of amused that the Times is no longer checking its facts.

For a start Cardinal Sodano, despite being the Dean of the College, will not be participating in the sequestered conclave!

He, now 82, is beyond the 80 year cut-off to be a cardinal elector. ONLY cardinal electors can participate in the sequestered conclave and vote for the next pope.

That the Dean will not be at the conclave is NOT a problem. The then Dean, the French Cardinal Confalonieri, was excluded from both 1978 conclaves. His Vice-Dean, Cardinal Marella, was also over 80. So he couldn’t attend either. So ‘poor’ over-worked Cardinal Jean-Marie Villot, also of France, had to do double duty as both Camerlengo and Dean at the conclave.

There is also no concept of the Dean ‘chairing’ the conclave per se. At the very start, after the (second) homily, the Dean, if present, inquires, verbally, whether the election can begin. This is basically the only overt action taken by the Dean UNTIL there is a pope-elect. The Dean’s functions in the conclave are purely ceremonial. If the Dean is not present at the conclave, the Vice-Dean or the senior most Cardinal Bishop present will seamlessly deputize for the Dean without there being any loss of status, gravitas or pomp. [Seniority in the case of the Cardinal Bishops being contingent on when they were consecrated as bishops, rather than when they were created cardinals. This came to be in 1731 and force still in force in 1917. A number of us are checking to see if this got changed post-1917. We can’t find anything yet.] This is always the case with all functions within the College — given that most members are bona fide bishops to begin with.

The precedence within the College is essentially ceremonial, with precedence being, in descending order, per the three ‘ranks:’ cardinal bishops, cardinal priests and cardinal deacons. Within the ranks of cardinal priests and cardinal deacons precedence is determined per seniority in terms of when the cardinal was created. The senior most cardinal deacon also has specific functions to perform during a conclave. If the senior most cardinal deacon is over 80 or is unable to attend, the senior most present at the conclave steps into the breach without any incident or drama. Such is the workings of the College.

While all the Cardinal Bishops, including the Dean, will sit in one of the two, face-to-face, front rows (separated by a wide aisle) there is no special ‘chair’ for the Dean. Conclave protocol is NOT based on having a presiding ‘chair.’

The duties of the Dean (or his deputy) at a conclave are:
* lead the electors from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel on the first day to begin the proceedings of the conclave. [This is basically per precedence, he being the most senior.]
* lead the electors in the group oath.
* inquire, after the homily, whether the electors are ready to start voting or whether there are still outstanding issues related to process that need to be clarified.
[[ The Dean is the first to cast the ballot, but, again, this is
basically per precedence, he being the most senior.]]
———-
* obtain the consent of the pope-elect that his election was ‘legal’ and that he, the pope-elect, intends to be the new pope.
* if the pope-elect is not already a bishop, to immediately consecrate the pope-elect as a bishop so that he can be the Bishop of Rome [i.e., the pope].
* inquire as to the name by which the new pope wishes to be known.
[[ The Dean will be the first to pay homage to the new pope, though this again is per
precedence, he being the most senior.]]

So those are the duties of the Dean. Please note that at NO TIME is the Dean instructing the other cardinals. That is the key.  The College is meant to be a body of amenable peers.

The Camerlengo, the senior most cardinal deacon and the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations (who is never a cardinal) handle the ongoing  logistics and processes — though the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations (and his two assistants) must always leave the Sistine Chapel before the electors start voting.

So Cardinal Sodano is not going to be at the next conclave to stare down Cardinal Schönborn.

It is also misleading to say the the Dean convenes the conclave (though there is a clause, #38, that does say ‘convoked for the election’). The conclave is pre-convened by the standing Apostolic Constitution. A General Congregation (of Cardinals), meeting shortly after the start of the sede vacante, will determine when the conclave will start. The Dean does not decide this.

All of this is discussed in detail in my ‘The Next Pope’ — the Handbook for the next papal election. The Times writers and copy editors really should get access to a few copies so that they don’t propagate fallacies.

It did amuse me though, especially since the byline said ‘Rome.’

All the best. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
Author of ‘The Next Pope

P.S. Cardinal Schönborn has never been a LEADING contender.