Tag Archives: Sixtus V

Cardinal Priests With Pro Hac Vice Titles

by Anura Guruge

Pro hac vice basically means a one time exception. In the context of cardinals, and the College, it comes up when a deaconry or church title, but mainly the former, is assigned outside of its normal province.

Right now we have 16 cardinal priests who rather than having bona fide titles instead have pro hac vice titles to deaconries. In reality this does not in anyway diminish the standing of a cardinal priest, though I am sure that there must be some who wish their title was not that of a deaconry.

This June 26, 2010 posting, half way down, has a whole section on pro hac vice (as well as in commendam) titles. Please read it if you are not familiar with the notion of  pro hac vice titles.

Typically pro hac vice titles come into play when a cardinal deacon, with 10 years tenure, seeks promotion to the order of cardinal priests per the current jus optionis rules. 14 of the current 16 instances of pro hac vice falls into this, easy to appreciate, category. Rather than having to find a title, the pope can just promote them in place. But, in two instances, John Paul II (#265) created cardinal priests with pro hac vicepro hac vice situation.] deaconries. There probably was a shortage of titles — as is somewhat the case now. [Hence, why I went and studied the

Sixtus V (#228), the IRON POPE, who did much to reform the College of Cardinals, had specified, categorically, in 1587, that deconaries and titles be kept separate with no cross-over appointments. Thus, as I mention in my June 26, 2010 posting (above) pro hac vice appointments contradict the Sixtus V intentions. I wasn’t sure whether it was John Paul II, who created the most number of cardinals in history, that came up with pro hac vice to help get around shortages of titles. But, I did a very quick search and found that Paul VI (#263) had created at least one pro hac vice cardinal priest, viz. Czechoslovakian Stepán Tróchta. This was, however, a somewhat special situation. Tróchta was created a cardinal priest in pectore in April 1969 — the secrecy most likely to do with issues with communist leaders. His name was not published until April 1973 — at which point he was said to have a pro hac vice title.

So here is the current list. Please CLICK on it to enlarge it. Thanks.

Pro hac vice titles in current use by Anura Guruge
Pro hac vice titles in current use by Anura Guruge

Cardinalabili [i.e., Potential New Cardinals] List From Italy

Cardinalabili list from Italy
Cardinalabili list from Italy

I try to track papabili [potential next pope]. But there are a few who are as interested, if not more, in trying to predict ‘cardinalabili,‘ i.e., who might be next in line to be created a cardinal.

As I have pointed out we should be due for another cardinal-creating consistory within the next 12 months — though I am also the first to agree that the pope does have some other issues to also deal with.

A couple of days ago I got an e-mail from Italy with a link to this cardinalabili list in a rather ‘posh’ Italian blog titled ‘Vatican Diplomacy‘.

I have a fairly good idea as to who compiled this anonymously published list … but my thoughts are private and my lips are sealed. It is not by an American. I can tell you that much.

The list, as you can see, was published on January 22, 2010.

It has 18 names listed as ‘SECURE’ (securi) — i.e., locked in. That is tight if all are to be cardinal electors.

Yes, right now we have 12 vacancies and 7 more electors will turn 80 by the end of this year. Plus, if any were to die.

Plus, the 120 cardinal elector limit set by Paul VI (#263) in 1973 is arbitrary. It is not tied to anything specific or meant to symbolize anything. The previous limit set on the cardinals, albeit this to the whole College since there was no 80 year cut off in those days, was 70 established by Sixtus V (#228) in 1586. This 70, however, was supposed to reflect the 70 elders that shared Moses’ burdens.

Pope John XXIII (#262), in 1958, at his very first consistory, 48-days into his papacy, calmly (and with no prior edicts) overrode the Sixtus V 70 limit making the new College 74 strong. He continued to increase the size of the College — all the way up to 90.

So Benedict XVI could emulate John XXIII and increase the 120 limit.

So, have a look at this Italian list. That we have the Archbishop of Colombo from my native Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a ‘kick.’ But, thought most don’t realize (unless, of course, they read my book) is that we have already had a cardinal from Ceylon. Cardinal Thomas Benjamin Cooray who participated in both of the 1978 conclaves.

Let me know what you think. I might even be able to convey your comments to the author of this list.

Anura Guruge

Precedence Among Cardinal Bishops — Rationalization

by Anura Guruge

This is a follow up to my May 14, 2010 posting
Precedence Among Cardinal Bishops‘.
Please read that to get the relevant background and context.

Please also read this post on College of Cardinals preferment rules.

IF the precedence rules for Cardinal Bishops did change so that their seniority too (bar that of the Dean and Sub-Dean) would be based on when they were created (as has always been the case for Cardinal Priests and Cardinal Deacons), as opposed to their original episcopal consecration, then it had to have happened post 1961-1962.

In 1961 and then 1962 John XXIII (#262) made two far-reaching rulings that changed the fundamental character of the College. Following those changes it makes sense, if the rules of precedence for Cardinal Bishops were changed, though, as yet, I have not been able to find a papal edict spelling out this change.

Prior to the promulgation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, men who were not in Holy Orders could still be created cardinals, but they could only be Cardinal Deacons.

During the Renaissance and into the 19th century it was not unusual to have young, worldly, unordained Cardinal Deacons, typically with aristocratic connections.

Don Luis Antonio Jaime de Borbón y Farnesio, the youngest son of King Philip V of Spain, was created a Cardinal Deacon on December 19, 1735, at the express behest of his father, by Clement XII (#247) – the same pope that instituted the 1731 precedence rule for Cardinal Bishops. Cardinal Borbón y Farnesio was all of 8 years old! [A year earlier, when he was 7, the pope, succumbing to imperial coercion, had given Luis Antonio power over the Archdiocese of Toledo (Spain).]

Leo X (#218), Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici, the second son of the famed Florentine Lorenzo ‘il Magnifico’ de’ Medici was created a Cardinal Deacon, at the age of 13, by Innocent VIII (#214), in March 1489 – though the pope waited until the cardinal was 16 before disclosing of his creation. [This was prior to in pectore creations coming to be 1536.]

In the early 13th century, about 150 years after the College was instituted, jus optionis (right of option) came to be. Per jus optionis, whenever a cardinalate was vacant, the most senior of the cardinals residing in or around Rome could opt for that title. In the case of cardinal bishops, they could, per this scheme, opt for one (and only one) transfer of bishopric during their lifetime – albeit with Ostia always reserved for the Dean. Cardinal priests and cardinal deacons could use this option either within their order or, more significantly, to opt for a title in a higher order. Per this scheme, the senior most Cardinal Deacon could ask to be made a Cardinal Bishop.

In 1586 Sixtus V (#228), who did much to reform the College and the curia, enacted a constitution that stated that one needed to be at least twenty-two years old in order to be created a cardinal deacon and, moreover, be prepared to be ordained within a year of their creation.

[With this ruling Sixtus might have been trying to atone for the appointment of his fourteen year old grand-nephew who as far as can be seen was never ordained, though he went on to become a Cardinal Bishop per the jus optionis preferment rules.]

Upon being ordained, a cardinal deacon would be re-assigned as a cardinal priest (with a new title) – but only when a new cardinal deacon was created to back fill the resulting vacancy. Sixtus V also updated the jus optionis preferment rules were to state that cardinal deacons must have ten years of tenure before they could request a vacant suburbicarian see [i.e., be a cardinal bishop]. However, the Cardinal Protodeacon [i.e., the earliest created], provided that he was thirty years or older, could opt for a suburbicarian see if it became vacant for a third time since his creation. The Sixtus rulings were embodied into the 1917 Canon Law.

You could now see what Clement XII was trying to achieve with his 1731 precedence ruling.

He was basically trying to give seniority to career clerics. Hence, the emphasis on original episcopal consecration. This makes a lot of sense given the jus optionis.

In 1961, John XXIII (#262) with his Ad Suburbicarias Dioeceses motu proprio overrode jus optionis. John decreed that the senior most cardinal priest or deacon no longer had the right to opt for a vacant suburbicarian see [i.e., to seek promotion to be a cardinal bishop]. Henceforth, the filling of a vacant suburbicarian see would be a prerogative of the pope, who could do so by creating a new cardinal or by promoting any of the existing cardinals, irrespective of their seniority. Ad Suburbicarias Dioeceses is a relatively succinct motu proprio and there appears to be no mention that the 1731 precedence rule was changed.

In 1962, via another motu proprio John required that all cardinals receive episcopal consecration unless an explicit exemption is granted by the pope, typically on the grounds of age. So, as of 1962, the concerns that must have prompted Clement XII to issue his precedence ruling were no longer applicable. So it would have been appropriate to have the precedence for Cardinal Bishops be the same as that for Cardinal Priests and Cardinal Deacons; i.e., seniority as of creation.

The problem is that we can’t find the necessary papal edict.

Next Consistory (Updated Jan. 10, 2010)

Anura Guruge

<< Please also refer to this May 2, 2010 posting at Popes and Papacy. >>

In July 2009 when the College stood at 185 with 113 electors I speculated that we might be due for a consistory. Well, it is now clear we will not have one in 2009. Popes typically do not convene consistories in January, that traditionally being a time that prelates are supposed to spend in their home communities. But quite a few consistories have been held in February and March. But I get a feeling that it might be some time before we see the next consistory.

As of January 10, 2010, with the death of Irish Cardinal Cahal Brendan daly, we are at 112 electors — the College now standing at 182. The size of the College and the number of electors are thus way down from their respective high-water marks; viz., 201 cardinals after the November 24, 2007 consistory and 135 electors (from within 194 cardinals) after the October 21, 2003 consistory.

Having 135 electors was a bit naughty. In 1973 Pope Paul VI had stated that the number of cardinal electors [i.e., those under the age of 80] could not exceed 120. This 120 limit was codified two years later in clause #33 Paul VI’s October 1, 1975 Apostolic Constitution Romano Pontifici Eligendo (the election of the Roman Pontiff). John Paul II’s February 22, 1996 Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis (the Lord’s whole flock) which superseded Romano Pontifici Eligendo contained the same 120 cardinal elector limit — also in its clause #33. It is known that John Paul II was well aware that he was exceeding the 120 limit, which he did twice, once in 2001 and then in 2003.  [Contrary to what some think John Paul II probably did not exceed the 120 limit at his first consistory in 1979 since one of his creations was in pectore.] But the pope was obviously very au fait with the age statistics and the health status of his princes. He knew that there were many cardinals approaching their eightieth birthday and that some were in poor health. By the time of the April 2005 conclave, seventeen months later, the College was down to 183 cardinals of which 117 were eligible to be electors. It is still not clear what would have happened if there were more than 120 electors when the sede vacante occurred. Some contend that they would all have been permitted to participate in the election. I contend that this would have violated the Constitution — a BIG ‘no-no’ per the Constitution itself! So I suggest that the Camerlengo and a General Congregation would have agreed to exclude the most recently elected (per the rules of College precedence).

Large bodies of cardinals (and thus electors) is a relatively new phenomena. In 1586 Pope Sixtus V in his Postquam verus constitution set 70 as the limit for the size of the College of Cardinals. This 70 limit was never exceeded until 1958 when the iconoclastic Pope John XXIII exceeded it by 4. Within four years he had increased the size of the College to 90 — his rationale, valid as ever, being that the Church in the 20th century was much larger than it had been during the time of Sixtus V. Subsequent popes have continued to increase the size of the College as signified by the graph below — though Pope Benedict XVI, true to his background as a disciplinarian, has vowed that he would not exceed the 120 elector edict. There is, however, no upper limit as to the size of the College. Right now there are enough titles (tituli) to have 218 cardinals — 8 of them, however, would have to be Eastern Rites Patriarchs. But, as has been the case in the past, a pope can create new titles to accommodate more cardinals.

The Current 182 Cardinals/112 Electors Is Not An Issue
There were only 111 electors at the two 1978 conclaves. The 2005 conclave that elected the current pope had 115 electors. So the current numbers are not ‘critical.’ The pope could wait for the numbers to drop a bit more before he decides to create any new cardinals.

Possible Reasons For The Reticence
To be fair the pope has been busy. Earlier this year he had to deal with the whole issue as to why he reinstated the ultra-conservative bishops . Then there was the trip to the Holy Land. Then reaching out to the Anglicans. But, as with Presidents and moms, popes are expected to be busy and be able to multi-task, juggling multiple priorities. So that alone doesn’t cut it.

It is also possible that this pope is very comfortable with the political makeup of this College since he and his dear Mentor are responsible for creating all of the cardinal electors. [One could also be cynical and take the contrarian view. The pope realizes that he probably doesn’t have enough time to create enough electors to significantly change the predominantly conservative leanings of this College.]

I am not a pope-watcher. I am a papal historian. There is a difference. But I think I have a fairly decent feel of this pope. Despite all of the contretemps he has been involved with since becoming pope, I think he is a genuine intellectual. He is a thinker. He ponders. I also think he has a deeper conscience than his predecessor. I think, I could, as ever, be wrong, that this pope is truly contrite about the still unfolding clergy abuse scandal. Though it wasn’t enough he did just recently express his ‘distress’ to the Irish. I also recall him making an apology during his trip to Australia.

So what does the clergy abuse scandal have to do with the size of the College of Cardinals?


Two words. Cost & culpability.

Cardinals, today, are expensive. [Yes, it was the other way around 700 years ago. Creating cardinals was a way to replenish papal coffers. Those days are gone.] Maintaining cardinals is a cost that has to be incurred by the Vatican. Holding a consistory is not cheap. If nothing else there is significant travel and lodging costs. So on the whole having less cardinals — and no consistory — helps the Vatican budget. I think that has been a factor.

I also think, and I could be wrong, that this pope worries that he may create the wrong impression by creating new cardinals at this juncture — particularly from the countries most affected by the scandal. Think about. So that is my take. I don’t have any inside information from Rome. This is just my own musings. So take it for what it is worth.

Grace, and may peace be with you.