…by Anura Guruge
A consistory, if that term is unfamiliar to you, is a formal meetings between the pope (in Rome) and his cardinals, always convened by the pope, to discuss Church matters or to create new cardinals. It comes from the Latin consistorium for ‘sitting together’. This said, the consistories that elicit widespread interest are those for creating new cardinals, these on average occurring about once every 2 years.
If the term ‘consistory’ was new there is a chance that you may also not be 100% au fait as to exactly who constitutes a Catholic cardinal. A Catholic cardinals is a ‘Prince of the Church’, the most senior of the ecclesiastical officials in the Catholic Church, created exclusively by the pope, with special, singular responsibility for electing popes and serving as their advisors – though, only those under the age of 80 can now act as electors. The term is from the Latin for ‘hinge’, cardo – and thus denoted, c. 4th century, clerics upon whom the future of Christianity hinged upon.
On Wednesday of this week, October 24, 2012, the current pope, the 85-year old Benedict XVI (#266), totally unexpectedly announced a cardinal creating consistory on Saturday, November 24, 2012 — his 2nd this year and his 5th in his 7.5 years in office.
Most of you probably don’t realize but I am a fairly dedicated papal historian, who has written 3 books about popes and have been cited by Vatican Radio and Rome Reports.
Most of it is right there, on the Right-hand side sidebar (—>>>) if you would just look.
As the author of 2 books entitled ‘The Next Pope‘ I am expected to be an expert on all matters pertaining to the next papal election — and that means cardinals, cardinal electors and the College of Cardinals.
I have two blogs, ‘popes and papacy‘ and ‘papam‘ (Latin for ‘pope’), the former usually updated daily, that deal with most matters related to popes, papacy, cardinals and the next conclave.
I spend ~45% of my research and writing time working on ‘popes’. I specialize in analysis, demographics, statistics, anecdotes (‘stories) and trivia. The blogs are not conventionally ‘Catholic’ in any sense. That is a part of their appeal.
I encourage speculation about the next pope (papabili) and possible new cardinals (cardinalabili). So whenever there is a consistory in the offing, life gets crazy — to the point that in the rush to get stuff done I even screw up, as I did earlier this morning. C’est la vie. Fallibility has always been my faithful handmaiden.
The ‘Consistory’ fixed page on ‘Popes and Papacy’. Click to enter.
Papam that specializes in the College of Cardinals and papal election issues.
How traffic spikes on ‘Popes and Papacy’ around consistories, i.e., first peak for the February 2012 and now the ramp up for the November 2012. The spike in July was the arrest of the Pope’s butler for Vatileaks. Click to ENLARGE.