Before 1970, a retiring bishop would not be given the title of bishop emeritus, but rather be assigned to a titular see, and thus be known as the Titular Bishop of X instead of Bishop emeritus of X. In some cases, a retiring bishop was even promoted to become a titular archbishop of some diocese that no longer existed. For example, Bishop Pieter Nierman, first bishop of the re-established Diocese of Groningen, became the Titular Bishop of Oppidum Consilinum upon his retirement in 1969.
In 1970, Blessed Pope Paul VI decided, that a retiring bishop “continue to be identified by the name of the see they have resigned.” Thus the bishop emeritus came into being. Today, not only retired bishops are emeriti, but diocesan bishops who have been transferred to some office in the Roman Curia are also emeriti. For example, the former bishop of Limburg in Germany, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is now a delegate for catechesis in the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, but is simply known as Bishop emeritus of Limburg.
Did Pope Francis today return to the old practice? Archbishop Alfredo Zecca of Tucumán in Argentina retired for health reasons at the age of 68 (seven years before the mandatory retirement age). Today’s daily bulletin duly mentions this, but adds that the Holy Father “at the same time transfer(s) him to the titular see of Bolsena”. Archbishop Zecca is then, at least in title, no longer attached to Tucumán, which he headed as archbishop since 2011. Is this indeed a return to the past, or an indication that Archbishop Zecca can expect another assignment when and if his health permits? Whatever the case may be, the appointment does stand out as unusual.
Below is this year’s list of recipients of the pallium, the woollen band of office denoting their being metropolitan archbishops. As always, the Holy Father will be handing the pallia out on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, 29 June, although the ceremony is somewhat changed this year: to make the ceremony shorter, and, like the most recent consistory, to avoid any suggestion that it is a sacramental rite. Whereas the imposition of the pallia previously took place during a Eucharistic celebration, after the homily, it will now be moved to before the Mass. As the Holy See press office explains: “Indeed, the rites which take place during a Eucharistic celebration following the homily are normally Sacramental rites: Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick. The imposition of the pallium, on the other hand, is not Sacramental in nature”.
- Ignatius Chama, Kasama, Zambia
- Alfred Martins, Lagos, Nigeria
- Benedito Roberto C.S.Sp., Malanje, Angola
- Gabriel Yaw Anokye, Kumasi, Ghana
- Stanisław Budzik, Lublin, Poland
- Waclaw Depo, Czestochowa, Poland
- Arrigo Miglio, Cagliari, Italy
- Francesco Moraglia, Venice, Italy
- Filippo Santoro, Taranto, Italy
- Wiktor Skworc, Katowice, Poland
- Pascal Wintzer, Poitiers, France
- Rainer Cardinal Woelki, Berlin, Germany
- Mark Coleridge, Brisbane, Australia
- Timothy Costelloe S.D.B., Perth, Australia
- Francesco Panfilo S.D.B., Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
- Esmeraldo Barreto de Farias, Porto Velho, Brazil
- Jacinto Furtado de Brito Sobrinho, Teresina, Brazil
- Airton dos Santos, Campinas, Brazil
- Ulises Gutiérrez Reyes O. de M., Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela
- Wilson Jonck S.C.I., Florianópolis, Brazil
- Paulo Mendes Peixoto, Uberaba, Brazil
- Salvador Piñeiro García-Calderón, Ayacucho o Huamanga, Peru
- Jose Rezende Dias, Niterói, Brazil
- Jaime Vieira Rocha, Natal, Brazil
- Alfredo Zecca, Tucuman, Argentina
All but two of the archbishops above will be at the ceremony on Rome this Friday. Archbishops Yaw Anokye and Vienneau will receive their pallia at their own cathedrals.