What is a cardinal's concistoro?

On August 29 and 30 Pope Francis convened a cardinal's council to analyze the new constitution of the Holy See, "Preach the Gospel". In these rules we explain what is a meeting and what is its importance.

Alejandro Vázquez-Dodero-September 8, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes

Testo originale del articolo in inglese qui

Testo dell'articolo in inglese

The Holy Father has convoked a meeting for the next 29 and 30 August. The previous day he will nominate 21 new cardinals and then all will work on an interesting document: the apostolic constitution. Praedicate Evangelium pubblicata il 19 marzo, che riguarda la Curia romana e il suo servizio alla Chiesa.

Among the new cardinals are three of the most responsible members of the Curia: the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Congregation for the Clergy, and the Pontifical Commission for the State and Government of the Vatican City.

Of the new porporati - so the cardinals are also called by the color of their clothes - 16 are elettori, i.e. they are less than 80 years old and in a conclave could be elected Roman Pontefice.

What are a cardinal and the College cardinalizio?

The cardinalate is the highest ecclesiastical dignity after the pope. A cardinal is called "prince" of the Church. Several of the cardinals carry out functions in the dicasteries - the offices of the Curia - in order to administer the duties of the Holy See.

Cardinals are appointed by the Pope from among those who meet a series of requirements. Today, in order to be nominated cardinal, one must have received the order of the presbyterate and be distinguished for doctrine, good morals, piety and prudence. Ordinarily the candidate must already be a vestryman, but it is possible that the pope may exempt him from this condition.

All cardinals make up the College of Cardinals. This body performs a dual function, that of electing the Roman Pontiff and that of advising him on the governance of the Church or on any other matter that the Pope deems appropriate.

At present the College of Cardinals is composed of 208 cardinals, of which 117 are electors of a new pope. After the next council the cardinals will be 229 and the total number of electors will be 132.

From whom is the consiglio composed and what is its role?

As we have already mentioned, the cardinals are part of the hierarchical organization of the Church to take care of its governance, and they do so either individually or - when acting as a collegio cardinalizio - also as a group. The council consists of a formal meeting of the college of cardinals and represents the supreme organ of the universal governance of the Church.

Its origin maintains a close relationship with the history of the Roman presbytery or body of the clergy of Rome. In the ancient Roman presbytery there were deacons, appointed to the temporary offices of the Church in the various regions of Rome; priests, who directed the main churches of the city; and vestrymen of the dioceses near Rome.

The current cardinals are succeeded by the members of the former presbyterate, not only for what concerns the offices of the three ranks - priests, deacons and deacons - but above all in assisting the Pope in the administration of the affairs of governance of the Church.

What are the types of consults?

There are three types of consort: ordinary, extraordinary and semi-public.

The ordinary or secret, so called because no one outside the pope and the cardinals can be present at their deliberations. The cardinals present in the Holy City - Rome - are asked to consult on some serious questions or to compete in some very important matters.

The extraordinary meeting is convened when the particular needs of the Church or the gravity of the matters to be dealt with require it. It is public, in the sense that people outside the Cardinal's College can also be invited to attend. This is the case of the nomination of new cardinals, such as that of August of this year.

And finally we have what we call the semi-public, because in addition to the cardinals, we also have the participation of some ships, those that travel within a hundred miles from Rome. In addition, other Italian ships are invited, as well as those currently passing through the Holy City.

How is the rite of creation of a cardinal?

As for the rite or the celebration of the meeting, it begins only with a brief liturgy of the Parola, the omelet of the Holy Father and the enunciation of the subject to be discussed.
In the case of the ceremony for the nomination of the new cardinals, there are the profession of faith and the conferring of the corresponding title. The imposition of the red berretta and the exchange of the sign of peace with the Pope and among the new cardinals follows.
The same afternoon of the celebration a meeting is held to greet the cardinals, and the following day the Roman Pontiff concelebrates with them the Holy Mass, in gratitude and to ask for their intercession for their new incarnations.

At the conclusion of this brief exposition, it is recommended that all the faithful become aware of the need to ask for this instrument of governance, since the Consistory constitutes the closest collaboration with the Holy Father in the governance of the Church.

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