Still almost a month before the consistory of 20 November, an interesting question remains, and it probably won’t be answered until the very day of the consistory. What title churches will the new cardinals be receiving?
The College of Cardinals has its origin in the ecclesiastical structure of ancient Rome. Historically, cardinals were the deacons and priests of parishes in the old city, or bishops of small nearby dioceses, the so-called suburbican sees. Nowadays, cardinals come from all over the world, and if they don’t have some function within the curia, they usually do not live in Rome. But still new cardinals go and take possession of their title churches in or near Rome, a tradition that, not unlike the titular sees of bishops who are not ordinaries, firmly ties past and present together.
There are 33 title churches available for the 24 new cardinals who can either become cardinal priests or cardinal deacons. Cardinal priests are usually diocesan (arch)bishops somewhere, while cardinal deacons have a role in the curia. For example, Archbishops Mazombwe (Lusaka), Wuerl (Washington), Monsengwo Pasinya (Kinshasa) and Nycz (Warsaw) will be cardinal priests, and Archbishops Amato, Sarah, Burke and Koch will be cardinal deacons.
Over the past days the rumours that Pope Benedict XVI would be calling a consistory for the Feast of Christ the King (20 November) were on a significant increase, and today they were proved true. At the end of his general audience of today, which ended only a few minutes ago, the Holy Father read the list of 24 cardinals-designate, who will receive the red hat next month. Some designates are the heads of important archdioceses, others have valuable roles in the Roman curia, and there are also those who receive the title as a recognition of their work. On the whole, these men reflect Pope Benedict’s own values and wishes for the future of the Church. It is not unlikely that among these cardinals-designate is his successor.
Here is the list of the 24, in alphabetical order:
Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B. (Italian, 72), prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints
Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli (Italian, 75), head of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci (Italian, 93), Emeritus director of the Sistine Chapel choir
Monsignor Walter Brandmuller (German, 81), Emeritus president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences
Archbishop Raymond Burke (American, 62), head of the Apostolic Signatura
Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis (Brazilian, 73), Archbishop of Aparecida
Archbishop Velasio De Paolis (Italian, 75), president of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
Archbishop José Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spanish, 84), Emeritus military ordinary of Spain
Archbishop Kurt Koch (Swiss, 60), president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe (Zambian, 79), Emeritus Archbishop of Lusaka
Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (Congolese, 71), Archbishop of Kinshasa
Archbishop Francesco Monterisi (Italian, 76), archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
Patriarch Antonios Naguib (Egypt, 75), patriarch of Alexandria
Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz (Polish, 60), Archbishop of Warsaw
Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don (Sri Lankan, 62), Archbishop of Colombo
Archbishop Reinhard Marx (German, 57), Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Archbishop Mauro Piacenza (Italian, 66), prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy
Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi (Italian, 68), president of the Pontifical Council for Culture
Archbishop Paolo Romeo (Italian, 72), Archbishop of Palermo
Archbishop Robert Sarah (Guinean, 65), president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”
Archbishop Paolo Sardi (Italian, 76), pro-patron of the Knights of Malta
Archbishop Elio Sgreccia (Italian, 82), Emeritus president of the Pontifical Academy for Life
Archbishop Donald Wuerl (American, 69), Archbishop of Washington
There are some very recent appointments to the curia among these 24, such as Archbishops Koch, Piacenza and Sarah, who have all taken over from their predecessors in the last few months or even weeks. Others are not surprising at all. Archbishops Burke, Ranjith, Monsengwo Pasinya and Amato were all generally expected to become cardinals.
The Italian contingent is relatively large, which is somewhat unusual considering the trend of the past years of non-Italians being appointed heads of councils and congregations. The non-western designates are again few in number. Personally, I had expected that to be different. Especially Asia has a number of major archdioceses which could be headed by a cardinal. Maybe next time.
As for the Low Countries, neither Archbishop Eijk of Utrecht nor Léonard of Brussels is on the list. Undoubtedly various people (bitter bloggers among them) will point out that this is due to them being out of favour with Rome. I expect the explanation is far simpler: both archdioceses still have active electors – Cardinals Simonis and Danneels respectively – and Pope Benedict XVI generally tends not to create new cardinals in a diocese or Church province that already has a cardinal able to participate in a conclave. Cardinal Simonis won’t turn 80 until November of next year, and Danneels won’t until June of 2013.
All the cardinals designate are now theoretically papabile, meaning they could be chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, but not all of them can participate in a conclave. Bartolucci, Brandmuller, Estepa Llaurens and Sgreccia are all over 80, and so they can’t vote. They could conceivably still be elected by their brother cardinals, but the chances of that are slim indeed.