A cardinal (Latin: Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae cardinalis, literally
Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church) is a senior ecclesiastical leader,
considered a Prince of the Church, and usually (now always for those
created when still within the voting age-range) an ordained bishop of
the Roman Catholic Church. The cardinals of the Church are
collectively known as the College of Cardinals. The duties of the
cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and making
themselves available individually or in groups to the
requested. Most have additional duties, such as leading a diocese or
archdiocese or managing a department of the Roman Curia. A cardinal's
primary duty is electing the bishop of
Rome when the see becomes
vacant. During the sede vacante (the period between a pope's death or
resignation and the election of his successor), the day-to-day
governance of the
Holy See is in the hands of the College of
Cardinals. The right to enter the conclave of cardinals where the pope
is elected is limited to those who have not reached the age of 80
years by the day the vacancy occurs.
In 1059, the right of electing the pope was reserved to the principal
Rome and the bishops of the seven suburbicarian sees. In the
12th century the practice of appointing ecclesiastics from outside
Rome as cardinals began, with each of them assigned a church in Rome
as his titular church or linked with one of the suburbicarian
dioceses, while still being incardinated in a diocese other than that
of Rome.
The term cardinal at one time applied to any priest permanently
assigned or incardinated to a church, or specifically to the senior
priest of an important church, based on the
Latin cardo (hinge),
meaning "principal" or "chief". The term was applied in this sense as
early as the ninth century to the priests of the tituli (parishes) of
the diocese of Rome.
3 Titular church
4 Title and reference style
5 Orders and their chief offices
5.1 Cardinal bishops
5.1.1 Dean and Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals
5.1.2 Cardinal patriarchs
5.2 Cardinal priests
5.3 Cardinal deacons
5.3.1 Cardinal protodeacon
220.127.116.11 Cardinal protodeacons since 1911
Special types of cardinals
6.2 Cardinals who are not bishops
6.3 "Lay cardinals"
7 Cardinals in pectore or secret cardinals
8 Vesture and privileges
9 See also
13 External links
Further information: Papal selection before 1059
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Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of France
There is disagreement about the origin of the term, but the consensus
that "cardinalis" from the word cardo (meaning 'pivot' or 'hinge') was
first used in late antiquity to designate a bishop or priest who was
incorporated into a church for which he had not originally been
Rome the first persons to be called cardinals were the
deacons of the seven regions of the city at the beginning of the 6th
century, when the word began to mean "principal," "eminent," or
"superior." The name was also given to the senior priest in each of
the "title" churches (the parish churches) of
Rome and to the bishops
of the seven sees surrounding the city. By the 8th century the Roman
cardinals constituted a privileged class among the Roman clergy. They
took part in the administration of the church of
Rome and in the papal
liturgy. By decree of a synod of 769, only a cardinal was eligible to
become bishop of Rome. In 1059, during the pontificate of Nicholas II,
cardinals were given the right to elect the bishop of
Rome under the
Papal Bull In nomine Domini. For a time this power was assigned
exclusively to the cardinal bishops, but the
Third Lateran Council
Third Lateran Council in
1179 gave back the right to the whole body of cardinals. Cardinals
were granted the privilege of wearing the red hat by
Pope Innocent IV
In cities other than Rome, the name cardinal began to be applied to
certain church men as a mark of honour. The earliest example of this
occurs in a letter sent by
Pope Zacharias in 747 to
Pippin III (the
Short), ruler of the Franks, in which Zacharias applied the title to
the priests of
Paris to distinguish them from country clergy. This
meaning of the word spread rapidly, and from the 9th century various
episcopal cities had a special class among the clergy known as
cardinals. The use of the title was reserved for the cardinals of Rome
in 1567 by Pius V.
In the year 1563 the influential Ecumenical Council of Trent, headed
Pope Pius IV, wrote about the importance of selecting good
Cardinals. According to this historic council "nothing is more
necessary to the Church of God than that the holy Roman pontiff apply
that solicitude which by the duty of his office he owes the universal
Church in a very special way by associating with himself as cardinals
the most select persons only, and appoint to each church most
eminently upright and competent shepherds; and this the more so,
because our Lord
Jesus Christ will require at his hands the blood of
the sheep of Christ that perish through the evil government of
shepherds who are negligent and forgetful of their office."
The earlier influence of temporal rulers, notably the French kings,
reasserted itself through the influence of cardinals of certain
nationalities or politically significant movements. Traditions even
developed entitling certain monarchs, including those of Austria,
Spain, and France, to nominate one of their trusted clerical subjects
to be created cardinal, a so-called crown-cardinal.
In early modern times, cardinals often had important roles in secular
affairs. In some cases, they took on powerful positions in government.
In Henry VIII's England, his chief minister was Cardinal Wolsey.
Cardinal Richelieu's power was so great that he was for many years
effectively the ruler of France. Richelieu's successor was also a
cardinal, Jules Mazarin.
Guillaume Dubois and André-Hercule de Fleury
complete the list of the four great cardinals to have ruled France.
In Portugal, due to a succession crisis, one cardinal, Henry, King of
Portugal, was crowned king, the only example of a cardinal-king.
Pope Sixtus V limited the number of cardinals to 70: six
cardinal bishops, 50 cardinal priests, and 14 cardinal deacons. Pope
John XXIII exceeded that limit citing the need to staff Church
offices. In November 1970 in Ingravescentem aetatem,
Pope Paul VI
established a maximum age of eighty years for electors. This
immediately deprived twenty-five cardinals of the right to participate
in a conclave. In October 1975 in Romano Pontifici eligendo, he set
the maximum number of electors at 120, while establishing no limit on
the overall size of the College.
Popes can set aside church laws and they have sometimes
brought the number of cardinals under the age of 80 to more than 120,
reaching as high as 135 with
Pope John Paul II's consistory of 21
February 2001. No more than 120 electors have ever participated in
a conclave, but most canon lawyers believe that if their number
exceeded 120 they would all participate.[a]
Pope Paul VI also increased the number of cardinal bishops by
assigning that rank, in 1965, to patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic
Churches when named cardinals.
Archbishop of Vienna and Cardinal-Priest of San
Each cardinal takes on a titular church, either a church in the city
Rome or one of the suburbicarian sees. The only exception is for
patriarchs of Eastern Catholic Churches. Nevertheless, cardinals
possess no power of governance nor are they to intervene in any way in
matters which pertain to the administration of goods, discipline, or
the service of their titular churches. They are allowed to
celebrate Mass and hear confessions and lead visits and pilgrimages to
their titular churches, in coordination with the staff of the church.
They often support their churches monetarily, and many Cardinals do
keep in contact with the pastoral staffs of their titular churches.
The Dean of the
College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals in addition to such a titular
church also receives the titular bishopric of Ostia, the primary
suburbicarian see. Cardinals governing a particular Church retain that
Title and reference style
Pope Urban VIII decreed their title to be Eminence
(previously, it had been "illustrissimo" and "reverendissimo")[b] and
decreed that their secular rank would equate to Prince, making them
secondary only to the
Pope and crowned monarchs.[c][d]
In accordance with tradition, they sign by placing the title
"Cardinal" (abbreviated Card.) after their personal name and before
their surname as, for instance, "John Card(inal) Doe" or, in Latin,
"Ioannes Card(inalis) Cognomen". Some writers, such as James-Charles
Noonan, hold that, in the case of cardinals, the form used for
signatures should be used also when referring to them in English.
Official sources such as the Catholic News Service say that the
correct form for referring to a cardinal in English is normally as
"Cardinal [First name] [Surname]". This is the rule given also in
stylebooks not associated with the Catholic Church.
This style is also generally followed on the websites of the Holy See
and episcopal conferences. Oriental Patriarchs who are created
Cardinals customarily use "Sanctae Ecclesiae Cardinalis" as their full
title, probably because they do not belong to the Roman
In Latin, the [First name] Cardinal [Surname] order is used in the
proclamation of the election of a new pope by the cardinal
protodeacon,[e] if the new pope is a cardinal, as he has been since
While the incumbents of some sees are regularly made cardinals, and
some countries are entitled to at least one cardinal by concordate
(usually earning either its primate or the metropolitan of the capital
city the cardinal's hat), no see carries an actual right to the
cardinalate, not even if its bishop is a Patriarch.
Orders and their chief offices
Choir dress of a cardinal.
Cardinal Sodano, current Dean of the College
Cardinal bishops (cardinals of the episcopal order) are among the most
senior prelates of the Catholic Church. Though in modern times most
cardinals are also bishops, the term "cardinal bishop" only refers to
the cardinals who are titular bishops of one of the seven
In early times, the privilege of papal election was not reserved to
the cardinals, and for centuries the person elected was customarily a
Roman priest and never a bishop from elsewhere. To preserve apostolic
succession the rite of consecrating him a bishop had to be performed
by someone who was already a bishop. The rule remains that, if the
Pope is not yet a bishop, he is consecrated by the Dean
of the College of Cardinals, the Cardinal
Bishop of Ostia.
There are seven suburbicarian sees: Ostia, Albano, Porto and Santa
Rufina, Palestrina, Sabina and Mentana, Frascati, and Velletri.
Velletri was united with Ostia from 1150 until 1914, when
Pope Pius X
separated them again, but decreed that whichever cardinal bishop
became Dean of the
College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals would keep the suburbicarian
see he already held, adding to it that of Ostia, with the result that
there continued to be only six cardinal bishops.
Since 1962, the cardinal bishops have only a titular relationship with
the suburbicarian sees, with no powers of governance over them.
Each see has its own bishop, with the exception of Ostia, of which the
Cardinal Vicar of the see of
Rome serves as apostolic administrator.
The current cardinal bishops of the suburbicarian dioceses are given
in the table below. Those highlighted in red (which, as of 10 June
2017, is all of them) are ineligible to participate in a Papal
Sodano, AngeloAngelo Sodano,
000000001927-11-23-000023 November 1927
Ostia (as Dean)
000000001994-01-10-000010 January 1994
Cardinal Secretary of State
Cardinal Secretary of State emeritus
Re, Giovanni BattistaGiovanni Battista Re,
000000001934-01-30-000030 January 1934
000000002002-10-01-00001 October 2002
Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops
Etchegaray, RogerRoger Etchegaray,
000000001922-09-25-000025 September 1922
000000001998-06-24-000024 June 1998
President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Arinze, FrancisFrancis Arinze
000000001932-11-01-00001 November 1932
000000002005-04-25-000025 April 2005
Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the
Discipline of the Sacraments
Bertone, TarcisioTarcisio Bertone,
000000001934-12-02-00002 December 1934
000000002008-05-10-000010 May 2008
Cardinal Secretary of State
Cardinal Secretary of State emeritus and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman
Saraiva Martins, JoséJosé Saraiva Martins
000000001932-01-06-00006 January 1932
000000002009-02-24-000024 February 2009
Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
For a period ending in the mid-20th century, long-serving cardinal
priests were entitled to fill vacancies that arose among the cardinal
bishops, just as cardinal deacons of ten years' standing are still
entitled to become cardinal priests. Since then, cardinals have been
advanced to cardinal bishop exclusively by papal appointment. Those
appointed to be cardinal-bishops are usually already cardinals, but
their seniority within the order of cardinal bishops is determined by
the date of their elevation to the order of cardinal bishop, rather
than by the date they originally became cardinals of a lesser order.
Dean and Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals
Main article: Dean of the College of Cardinals
The Dean of the College of Cardinals, or Cardinal Dean, is the primus
inter pares of the College of Cardinals, elected by the cardinal
bishops holding suburbicarian sees from among their own number, an
election, however, that must be approved by the Pope. The position of
Dean formerly belonged by right to the longest-serving of the cardinal
bishops. The Vice-Dean is similarly elected by the six suburbicarian
cardinal bishops from among their own number with the Pope's approval
and also formerly belonged by right to the second-longest-serving of
the cardinal bishops.
Pope Paul VI decreed in his motu proprio Ad Purpuratorum
Patrum Collegium that patriarchs of the
Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Catholic Churches who
were named cardinals (i.e., patriarch cardinals) would also be
cardinal bishops, ranking after the six cardinal bishops of the
suburbicarian sees. Unlike all other cardinals, these patriarch
cardinals do not receive any title associated with the
Rome. Unlike the other cardinal bishops, they do not participate in
electing the dean nor can they be chosen dean.
There are currently three Eastern Patriarchs who are cardinal bishops:
Patriarch Emeritus of Antioch of the Maronites
Patriarch Emeritus of Alexandria of the Copts
Bechara Boutros al-Rahi,
Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites
Latin Rite prelate who carries the title patriarch, such as that
of Venice or Lisbon, becomes a cardinal, he ranks as a cardinal
priest, not as a cardinal bishop.
Cardinal priests are the most numerous of the three orders of
cardinals in the Catholic Church, ranking above the cardinal deacons
and below the cardinal bishops. Those who are named cardinal
priests today are generally bishops of important dioceses throughout
the world, though some hold Curial positions.
In modern times, the name "cardinal priest" is interpreted as meaning
a cardinal who is of the order of priests. Originally, however, this
referred to certain key priests of important churches of the Diocese
of Rome, who were recognized as the cardinal priests, the important
priests chosen by the pope to advise him in his duties as
Latin cardo means "hinge"). Certain clerics in many dioceses
at the time, not just that of Rome, were said to be the key
personnel—the term gradually became exclusive to
Rome to indicate
those entrusted with electing the bishop of Rome, the pope.
Cardinal-priest Thomas Wolsey
While the cardinalate has long been expanded beyond the Roman pastoral
clergy and Roman Curia, every cardinal priest has a titular church in
Rome, though they may be bishops or archbishops elsewhere, just as
cardinal bishops are given one of the suburbicarian dioceses around
Pope Paul VI abolished all administrative rights cardinals had
with regard to their titular churches, though the cardinal's name and
coat of arms are still posted in the church, and they are expected to
celebrate mass and preach there if convenient when they are in Rome.
While the number of cardinals was small from the times of the Roman
Empire to the Renaissance, and frequently smaller than the number of
recognized churches entitled to a cardinal priest, in the 16th century
the College expanded markedly. In 1587,
Pope Sixtus V sought to arrest
this growth by fixing the maximum size of the College at 70, including
50 cardinal priests, about twice the historical number. This limit was
respected until 1958, and the list of titular churches modified only
on rare occasions, generally when a building fell into disrepair. When
Pope John XXIII abolished the limit, he began to add new churches to
the list, which Popes Paul VI and John Paul II continued to do. Today
there are close to 150 titular churches, out of over 300 churches in
The cardinal who is the longest-serving member of the order of
cardinal priests is titled cardinal protopriest. He had certain
ceremonial duties in the conclave that have effectively ceased because
he would generally have already reached age 80, at which cardinals are
barred from the conclave. The current cardinal protopriest is Michael
Michai Kitbunchu of Thailand.
The cardinal deacons are the lowest-ranking cardinals. Cardinals
elevated to the diaconal order are either officials of the Roman Curia
or priests elevated after their 80th birthday. Bishops with diocesan
responsibilities, however, are created cardinal priests.
Cardinal deacons derive originally from the seven deacons in the Papal
Household and the seven deacons who supervised the Church's works in
the districts of
Rome during the early Middle Ages, when church
administration was effectively the government of
Rome and provided all
social services. Cardinal deacons are given title to one of these
Cardinals elevated to the diaconal order are mainly officials of the
Roman Curia holding various posts in the church administration. Their
number and influence has varied through the years. While historically
predominantly Italian the group has become much more internationally
diverse in later years. While in 1939 about half were Italian by 1994
the number was reduced to one third. Their influence in the election
Pope has been considered important, they are better informed
and connected than the dislocated cardinals but their level of unity
has been varied. Under the 1587 decree of
Pope Sixtus V, which
fixed the maximum size of the College of Cardinals, there were 14
cardinal deacons. Later the number increased. As late as 1939 almost
half of the cardinals were members of the curia. Pius XII reduced this
percentage to 24 percent. John XXIII brought it back up to 37 percent
but Paul VI brought it down to 27 percent where John Paul II
maintained this ratio.
As of 2005, there were over 50 churches recognized as cardinalatial
deaconries, though there were only 30 cardinals of the order of
deacons. Cardinal deacons have long enjoyed the right to "opt for the
order of cardinal priests" (optazione) after they have been cardinal
deacons for 10 years. They may on such elevation take a vacant "title"
(a church allotted to a cardinal priest as the church in
which he is associated) or their diaconal church may be temporarily
elevated to a cardinal priest's "title" for that occasion. When
elevated to cardinal priests, they take their precedence according to
the day they were first made cardinal deacons (thus ranking above
cardinal priests who were elevated to the college after them,
regardless of order).
When not celebrating Mass but still serving a liturgical function,
such as the semiannual
Urbi et Orbi
Urbi et Orbi papal blessing, some Papal Masses
and some events at Ecumenical Councils, cardinal deacons can be
recognized by the dalmatics they would don with the simple white mitre
(so called mitra simplex).
The cardinal protodeacon is the senior cardinal deacon in order of
appointment to the College of Cardinals. If he is a cardinal elector
and participates in a conclave, he announces a new pope's election and
name[f] from the central balcony of
St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican
City. The proto-deacon also bestows the pallium on the new pope and
crowns him with the papal tiara, though coronations have been
Pope John Paul I opted for a simpler papal
inauguration ceremony in 1978. The current cardinal proto-deacon
is Renato Raffaele Martino.
Cardinal protodeacons since 1911
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Coat of arms
Coat of arms of Cardinal Martino, current Cardinal Protodeacon
Francesco Salesio Della Volpe
Francesco Salesio Della Volpe (4 January 1911 – 5 November
1916†); announced election of
Pope Benedict XV (1914)
Gaetano Bisleti (5 November 1916 – 17 December 1928*);
announced election of
Pope Pius XI (1922)
Camillo Laurenti (17 December 1928 – 16 December 1935*)
Camillo Caccia-Dominioni (16 December 1935 – 12 November
1946†); announced election of
Pope Pius XII (1939)
Nicola Canali (12 November 1946 – 3 August 1961†); announced
Pope John XXIII (1958)
Alfredo Ottaviani (3 August 1961 – 26 June 1967*); announced
Pope Paul VI (1963)
Arcadio Larraona Saralegui, CMF (26 June 1967 – 28 April 1969*)
William Theodore Heard (28 April 1969 – 18 May 1970*)
Antonio Bacci (18 May 1970 – 20 January 1971†)
Michael Browne, OP (20 January 1971 – 31 March 1971†)
Federico Callori di Vignale (31 March 1971 – 8 August 1971†)
Charles Journet (8 August 1971 – 5 March 1973*)
Pericle Felici (5 March 1973 – 30 June 1979*); announced
Pope John Paul I (1978) and
Pope John Paul II (1978)
Sergio Pignedoli (30 June 1979 – 15 June 1980†)
Umberto Mozzoni (15 June 1980 – 2 February 1983*)
Opilio Rossi (2 February 1983 – 22 June 1987*)
Giuseppe Caprio (22 June 1987 – 26 November 1990*)
Aurelio Sabattani (26 November 1990 – 5 April 1993*)
Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy
Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy (5 April 1993 – 29 January 1996*)
Eduardo Martínez Somalo
Eduardo Martínez Somalo (29 January 1996 – 9 January 1999*)
Pio Laghi (9 January 1999 – 26 February 2002*)
Luigi Poggi (26 February 2002 – 24 February 2005*)
Jorge Medina Estévez
Jorge Medina Estévez (24 February 2005 – 23 February 2007*);
announced election of
Pope Benedict XVI (2005)
Darío Castrillón Hoyos
Darío Castrillón Hoyos (23 February 2007 – 1 March 2008*)
Agostino Cacciavillan (1 March 2008 – 21 February 2011*)
Jean-Louis Tauran (21 February 2011 – 12 June 2014*); announced
Pope Francis (2013)
Renato Raffaele Martino (12 June 2014 – present)
*Ceased to be protodeacon upon being raised to the order of
†Was protodeacon at time of death
Special types of cardinals
The Cardinal Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, assisted by the
Vice-Camerlengo and the other prelates of the office known as the
Apostolic Camera, has functions that in essence are limited to a
period of sede vacante of the papacy. He is to collate information
about the financial situation of all administrations dependent on the
Holy See and present the results to the College of Cardinals, as they
gather for the papal conclave.
Cardinals who are not bishops
Reginald Pole was a cardinal for 18 years before he was ordained a
Until 1917, it was possible for someone who was not a priest, but only
in minor orders, to become a cardinal (see "lay cardinals", below),
but they were enrolled only in the order of cardinal deacons. For
example, in the 16th century,
Reginald Pole was a cardinal for 18
years before he was ordained a priest. In 1917 it was established that
all cardinals, even cardinal deacons, had to be priests, and, in
Pope John XXIII set the norm that all cardinals be ordained as
bishops, even if they are only priests at the time of appointment.
As a consequence of these two changes, canon 351 of the 1983 Code of
Canon Law requires that a cardinal be at least in the order of
priesthood at his appointment, and that those who are not already
bishops must receive episcopal consecration. Several cardinals aged
over 80 or close to it when appointed have obtained dispensation from
the rule of having to be a bishop.[g] These were all appointed
Roberto Tucci and
Albert Vanhoye lived long
enough to exercise the right of option and be promoted to the rank of
A cardinal who is not a bishop is still entitled to wear and use the
episcopal vestments and other pontificalia (episcopal regalia: mitre,
crozier, zucchetto, pectoral cross and ring). Even if not a bishop,
any cardinal has both actual and honorary precedence over non-cardinal
patriarchs, as well as the archbishops and bishops who are not
cardinals, but he cannot perform the functions reserved solely to
bishops, such as ordination. The prominent priests who since 1962 were
not ordained bishops on their elevation to the cardinalate were over
the age of 80 or near to it, and so no cardinal who was not a bishop
has participated in recent papal conclaves.
Main article: Lay cardinal
At various times, there have been cardinals who had only received
first tonsure and minor orders but not yet been ordained as deacons or
priests. Though clerics, they were inaccurately called "lay
Teodolfo Mertel was among the last of the lay cardinals.
When he died in 1899 he was the last surviving cardinal who was not at
least ordained a priest. With the revision of the Code of Canon Law
promulgated in 1917 by
Pope Benedict XV, only those who are already
priests or bishops may be appointed cardinals. Since the time of
Pope John XXIII a priest who is appointed a cardinal must be
consecrated a bishop, unless he obtains a dispensation.
Cardinals in pectore or secret cardinals
Main article: In pectore
In addition to the named cardinals, the pope may name secret cardinals
or cardinals in pectore (
Latin for in the breast). During the Western
Schism, many cardinals were created by the contending popes. Beginning
with the reign of
Pope Martin V, cardinals were created without
publishing their names until later, termed creati et reservati in
pectore. A cardinal named in pectore is known only to the pope. In
the modern era popes have named cardinals in pectore to protect them
or their congregations from political reprisals. If conditions change,
the pope makes the appointment public. The cardinal in question then
ranks in precedence with those made cardinals at the time of his in
pectore appointment. If a pope dies before revealing the identity of
an in pectore cardinal, the person's status as cardinal expires.
Of the 232 cardinals that
Pope John Paul II created, four were named
in pectore. Three were later identified as:
Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei,
Bishop of Shanghai, People's Republic of China
- made cardinal 1979, revealed 1991, died 2000.
Archbishop of Lviv,
Ukraine - made cardinal 1998,
Archbishop of Riga,
Latvia - made cardinal 1998,
The fourth cardinal was created in 2003. John Paul II did not reveal
this cardinal's identity prior to his death, nor in his will.
Speculation centered on
Joseph Zen Ze-kiun,
Archbishop of Hong Kong,
Archbishop of Moscow, and
Dziwisz, John Paul's longtime friend and secretary.
Vesture and privileges
Main article: Pontifical vestments
Cardinal Sarr with a ferraiolo, and wearing a red cassock, but not the
rest of the choir dress.
Walter Kasper (left) and
Godfried Danneels (right) wearing
their choir dress: scarlet (red) cassock, white rochet trimmed with
lace, scarlet mozetta, scarlet biretta (over the usual scarlet
zucchetto), and pectoral cross on cord.
Cardinal Pell wearing the ordinary dress of a cardinal: black cassock
with scarlet (red) piping and buttons, scarlet fascia (sash), pectoral
cross on a chain, and a scarlet zucchetto.
Cardinal Bertone in dress for hot tropical countries (white cassock
with scarlet piping and buttons).
When in choir dress, a Latin-rite cardinal wears scarlet
garments — the blood-like red symbolizes a cardinal's
willingness to die for his faith. Excluding the
rochet — which is always white — the scarlet garments
include the cassock, mozzetta, and biretta (over the usual scarlet
zucchetto). The biretta of a cardinal is distinctive not merely for
its scarlet color, but also for the fact that it does not have a
pompon or tassel on the top as do the birettas of other prelates.
Until the 1460s, it was customary for cardinals to wear a violet or
blue cape unless granted the privilege of wearing red when acting on
papal business. His normal-wear cassock is black but has scarlet
piping and a scarlet fascia (sash). Occasionally, a cardinal wears a
scarlet ferraiolo which is a cape worn over the shoulders, tied at the
neck in a bow by narrow strips of cloth in the front, without any
'trim' or piping on it. It is because of the scarlet color of
cardinals' vesture that the bird of the same name has become known as
Eastern Catholic cardinals continue to wear the normal dress
appropriate to their liturgical tradition, though some may line their
cassocks with scarlet and wear scarlet fascias, or in some cases, wear
Eastern-style cassocks entirely of scarlet.
In previous times, at the consistory at which the pope named a new
cardinal, he would bestow upon him a distinctive wide-brimmed hat
called a galero. This custom was discontinued in 1969 and the
investiture now takes place with the scarlet biretta. In
ecclesiastical heraldry, however, the scarlet galero is still
displayed on the cardinal's coat of arms. Cardinals had the right to
display the galero in their cathedral, and when a cardinal died, it
would be suspended from the ceiling above his tomb. Some cardinals
will still have a galero made, even though it is not officially part
of their apparel.
To symbolize their bond with the papacy, the pope gives each newly
appointed cardinal a gold ring, which is traditionally kissed by
Catholics when greeting a cardinal (as with a bishop's episcopal
ring). Before the new uniformity imposed by John Paul II, each
cardinal was given a ring, the central piece of which was a gem,
usually a sapphire, with the pope's stemma engraved on the inside.
There is now no gemstone, and the pope chooses the image on the
Pope Benedict XVI it was a modern depiction of the
crucifixion of Jesus, with Mary and John to each side. The ring
includes the pope's coat of arms on the inside.
Cardinals have in canon law a "privilege of forum" (i.e., exemption
from being judged by ecclesiastical tribunals of ordinary rank): only
the pope is competent to judge them in matters subject to
ecclesiastical jurisdiction (cases that refer to matters that are
spiritual or linked with the spiritual, or with regard to infringement
of ecclesiastical laws and whatever contains an element of sin, where
culpability must be determined and the appropriate ecclesiastical
penalty imposed). The pope either decides the case himself or
delegates the decision to a tribunal, usually one of the tribunals or
congregations of the Roman Curia. Without such delegation, no
ecclesiastical court, even the Roman Rota, is competent to judge a
canon law case against a cardinal.
Hierarchy of the Catholic Church
List of the creations of the cardinals
^ The rule set out in
Universi Dominici gregis
Universi Dominici gregis is that "No Cardinal
elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election
of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext."
^ They were formerly called illustrissimi and reverendissimi; but Pope
Urban VIII (of the Barberini family), in 1630, established the above
as their title of honour. Edward Wigglesworth, Thomas Gamaliel
Bradford: Encyclopædia Americana: a popular dictionary of arts,
sciences. Volume 4. Page 493.
^ As the exclusive electors of the pope (at least since 1179),
cardinals were deemed to be the ecclesiastical equivalents of the Holy
Roman Empire's 'Prince-Electors,' an extremely elite group with
precedence over all other nobility (including archdukes, dukes and
counts), who were tasked with the responsibility of electing Holy
Roman Emperors.... A decree of 10 June 1630, by Urban VII bestowed the
title "His Eminence", historically reserved for high nobility, upon
the cardinals, thus elevating them above the 'His Excellency,' then
being used to refer to Italian princes." Guruge, Anura. The Next Pope.
Alton, New Hampshire. 2010. Page 81.
^ Authoritarian, keenly conscious of his position, Urban kept business
in his own hands and rarely discussed it with his cardinals: to
compensate them he gave them the rank of princes of the church and a
right to the title of 'eminence' (June 1630). Oxford Dictionary of
Popes: Urban VIII
^ "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum; habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac
Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum (first name) Sanctae Romanae
Ecclesiae Cardinalem (last name), ..." (Meaning: "I announce to
you a great joy; we have a Pope: The Most Eminent and Most Reverend
Lord, Lord (first name) Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church (last name),
^ once he has been ordained to the episcopate
^ Examples include Domenico Bartolucci, Karl Josef Becker, Yves
Congar, Aloys Grillmeier, Henri de Lubac, Julien Ries, Leo Scheffczyk,
Roberto Tucci and Albert Vanhoye.
^ a b c Sägmüller, Johannes Baptist (1913). "Cardinal". In
Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton
^ Encyclopædia Britannica
^ Catholic bishops and
Pius IV (11 November 1563). The Council of
Trent. Tan Books and Publishers.
^ a b Chadwick, Owen (1981). The Popes and European Revolution. Oxford
University Press. p. 266. ISBN 9780198269199.
^ Henry Kitchell Webster, Hutton Webster, Early European History, p.
604. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=rXSqwPFMn3oC.
^ Cortesi, Arnaldo (18 November 2017). "Two Americans among 23 New
Cardinals". New York Times. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
^ Cortesi, Arnoldo (16 December 1958). "
Pope Elevates 33 to
Cardinalate; Deplores China Church Schism". New York Times. Retrieved
25 October 2017.
^ Hoffman, Paul (24 November 1970). "Voting for Popes Is Barred to
Cardinals Over 80". New York Times. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
^ Reese, Thomas J. (1998). Inside the Vatican: The Politics and
Organization of the Catholic Church. Harvard University Press.
p. 101. ISBN 9780674418028.
^ Are There Any Limitations on the Power of the Pope? Archived 14 July
2011 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Mickens, Robert (24 April 2017). "Letter from
Rome The Next Stage of
Francis's Mission". Commonwealth Magazine. Retrieved 9 July
^ Stanley, Alexandra (22 February 2001). "Shaping a Legacy, Pope
Installs 44 Cardinals". New York Times. Retrieved 1 September
^ Allen Jr., John L. (2002). Conclave: The Politics, Personalities,
and Process of the Next Papal Election. Random House. p. 107.
ISBN 9780385504560. Most canon lawyers take the opinion that the
pope, in appointing more electors than anticipated by Universi
Dominici Gregis, made an exception to his own rules and hence all the
cardinals under eighty, regardless of the limit of 120, are eligible
to enter the conclave. (Canon lawyers ruefully joke that nobody
violates canon law like a pope.) As a political matter, it seems
probable that all cardinals under eighty will be admitted regardless
of the wording of Universi Dominici Gregis because the task of trying
to decide who cannot enter could paralyze the process
^ "Pontiff Installs 27 New Cardinals". New York Times. 23 February
1965. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
Pope Paul VI (11 February 1965). "Ad purpuratorum Patrum". Libreria
Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 3 December 2017. ]
^ a b
Pope Paul VI., Motuproprio "Ad Purpuratorum Patrum Collegium"
(11 February 1965), par. II
^ Code of Canon law: 357-1
^ Code of Canon law: 350
^ Noonan, The Church Visible, p. 205
^ "Catholic News Service" (PDF). www.catholicnews.com. Archived from
the original (PDF) on 2005-12-12.
^ Religion Stylebook: "Cardinals should be referred to conventionally,
as in Cardinal Avery Dulles, not Avery Cardinal Dulles
^ "University of San Francisco Editorial Style Guide: "On first
reference capitalize these titles before the individual's name:
Cardinal Timothy Manning, archbishop of Los Angeles"" (PDF). Archived
from the original (PDF) on 4 December 2014.
^ "Associated Press Style Guide: "The preferred form for first
reference is ... Cardinal Daniel DiNardo"" (PDF).
^ "At first reference Cardinal John Doe. At subsequent references the
cardinal or Doe" (Reuters Handbook of Journalism)
^ The websites of the
Holy See (except for signatures), and of the
Episcopal Conferences in the United States, England and Wales Archived
20 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine., Ireland Archived 24 July 2008
at the Wayback Machine. and the Australia Archived 20 July 2008 at the
Wayback Machine. agree with the stylebooks. The Bishops' Conference of
Scotland Archived 11 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine. uses both styles
side by side. On diocesan sites, the "John Cardinal Doe" style is
found on, for example, those of Boston, Chicago, Dublin, New York
Archived 3 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine., Toronto, Washington
Archived 1 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Galveston-Houston
Archived 24 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine., Detroit, Durban
Archived 19 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine., Colombo, Bombay,
and the "Cardinal John Doe" on, for example, those of Armagh,Los
Angeles Archived 29 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Philadelphia
Archived 17 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine., St Andrews and Edinburgh
Archived 7 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine., Wellington,
^ cfr. Klaus Ganzer, Kardinäle als Kirchenfürsten?: Stimmen der Zeit
2011, Nr. 5, S. 313-323
^ "Election - BENEDICT XVI". www.vatican.va.
^ John P. Beal, New Commentary on the
Code of Canon Law
Code of Canon Law (Paulist Press
2000 ISBN 978-0-80910502-1), p. 468
^ Umberto Benigni, "Ostia and Velletri" in
Catholic Encyclopedia (New
Pope Pius X, motu proprio Edita a Nobis of 5 May 1914 in Acta
Apostolicae Sedis VI (1914), p. 219-220 Archived 3 March 2013 at the
^ "History of Papal Electoral Law". www.ewtn.com.
Pope John XXIII (9 April 1962). "Suburbicariis sedibus" (in Latin).
Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
Pope Paul VI (11 February 1965). "Ad Purpuratorum Patrum Collegium"
(in Latin). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 3 December
^ John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary
^ a b Thomas J. Reese, Inside the Vatican: The Politics and
Organization of the Catholic Church, Harvard University Press, 1996 p.
^ Ap. Const. Universi Dominici Gregis, No. 89
^ "Acting in the place of the Roman Pontiff, he also confers the
pallium upon metropolitan bishops or gives the pallium to their
proxies." Canon 355 §2
^ Scaramuzzi, Jacopo (12 June 2014). "Martino diventa cardinale
protodiacono (senza "Habemus Papam")". La Stampa (in Italian).
Retrieved 23 January 2018.
Pastor Bonus, - John Paul II - Apostolic Constitution (June 28,
1988) - John Paul II". www.vatican.va.
^ Canon 232 §1 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law
Motu proprio Cum gravissima, 15 April 1962 Archived 2 March 2013 at
the Wayback Machine.
^ canon 232 §1 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law
^ Cf. canon 351 §1 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law
^ "Consistories of Martin V - 23 July 1423 (II), Note". The Cardinals
of the Holy Roman Church.
^ "His Holiness John Paul II Short Biography".
Holy See Press Office.
30 June 2005. Archived from the original on 30 December 2008.
Retrieved 20 April 2007.
^ Boudreau, Richard (7 April 2005). "Mystery Cardinal Will Never Be
Able to Join Peers". Los Angeles Times.
College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals - General Documentazion Archived 17 March
2013 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Applause and tears in Basilica greet Pontiff (26 November 2007)
Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 1 June 2008. Quote: "In a ceremony
televised across the world cardinal-elect Sean Brady knelt before Pope
Benedict XVI and pledged his allegiance to the Church before receiving
his special red birretta — a symbol of a cardinal's dignity and
willingness to shed blood for the increase of the Christian faith."
^ a b "Instruction on the dress, titles and coat-of-arms of cardinals,
bishops and lesser prelates". L'Osservatore Romano, English ed. 17
April 1969: vol.4. Retrieved 1 September 2006.
^ Photograph of Josyf Slipyj, Major
Archbishop of the Ukrainian
Catholic Church and Cardinal, wearing a galero on top of his red
klobuk. Retrieved from
^ Paulson, Michael (25 March 2006). "Bling! examination of the ring of
Cardinal O'Malley". Boston Globe. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
^ John Abel Nainfa (1909). Costume of
Prelates of the Catholic Church:
According to Roman Etiquette. Baltimore-New York: John Murphy Company.
p. 107. . The new cardinal had to pay for the ring, in
exchange for which he received the right to make his own Last Will and
^ "Elevated cardinals receive gold ring from the pope during Mass of
Rings". www.fogcityjournal.com. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
^ Canon 1405 §1 and canon 1406 §2 Archived 22 August 2006 at the
Kuttner, Steven (1945). "Cardinalis: The History of a Canonical
Concept". Traditio. 3: 129–214. JSTOR 27830076. (Registration
Battandier, Albert (1913). "Ecclesiastical Addresses". In
Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton
Noonan, Jr., James-Charles (1996). The Church Visible: The Ceremonial
Life and Protocol of the Roman Catholic Church. Viking.
Sägmüller, Johannes Baptist (1913). "Cardinal". In Herbermann,
Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton
Boudinhon, Auguste (1911). "Cardinal". In Chisholm, Hugh.
Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cardinals’ coat of arms.
Salvador Miranda. The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. A digital
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Next Cardinal Creating Consistory by
Pope Benedict XVI -- The Required
Background Data (including statistical data and links). Popes and the
Papacy website (Anura Guruge). Retrieved 2010-09-08.
GCatholic on all Cardinals
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