Tag Archives: Paul VI

Pope Paul VI Was A Very Decent Human Being, But He Was NO Saint!

by Anura Guruge


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Pope Paul VI (1897 – 1978), pope from 1963 to 1978, was a GOOD pope, he was also an outstanding human being and had a heart of gold. I like Paul VI. He was a likeable person.

But he is NO Saint. That is not a sin. We can’t all be saints.

The Vatican’s preference of late to try and canonize all recent popes, within just decades of their demise, is DEVALUING the sanctity of sainthood.

The rush to make John Paul II to a saint was unbecoming and it does not sit well with many.

Pope John XXIII earned his and his took longer.

I am sure that Paul VI will be the first to agree that he is NOT a saint.

He had issues and made some serious miscalculations that are still impacting the WORLD when it comes to birth control (his infamous Humanae vitae) and sexuality. And despite his moralistic views on the later, even today there are questions as to HIS sexuality. He was NO saint.

I will, time permitting, elaborate on this in the coming weeks, BUT I want to go on record that I, for one, feel very strongly that canonizing Paul VI, this early and this quickly, is plain wrong and crazy.


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by Anura Guruge

Conclave Sizes Since Sixtus V, in 1586, Set Max. College Size to 70 & Then John XXIII Nixing That.

by Anura Guruge


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The last two conclaves, the ones in 2013 & 2005, both had 115 electors.

The prior two conclaves, 50 days apart in 1978, both had 111 electors — though it was NOT the same 111 cardinals.

Quite the coincidence.


I had been wondering whether we ever had a ‘full-house’ conclave, i.e., 70 between 1586 and John XXIII, and 120 after Paul VI (#263).

I (obviously) knew that the 2005 conclave with 115 was the largest. So, I knew we had yet to hit the 120. Was not sure about the 70. Appears that we could have had 70 in Dec. 1565 and then in 1669. There were 70 cardinals ‘around’ the time of the sede vacante. But, we never did get 70 attending a post Sixtus V, pre. John XXIII conclave. We had two 66s in the 17th century. We also had one with 34 cardinals. So when I hear folks say that the pope doesn’t want to see the numbers electors fall below 100 — it makes me chortle. Per that metric we can afford to go down to 59.

So here is the chart. Enjoy.


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by Anura Guruge

“Pro Hac Vice” Titles: History and Trivia.

by Anura Guruge


The plain exterior of San Cesareo in Palatio, the FUTURE “John Paul II’s” deaconry when he was created a Cardinal Priest in June 1967 — 11-years ahead of becoming Pope.


Pro hac vice, in the context of the Catholic Church, is when a Roman deaconry (normally to be assigned to a cardinal deacon) is elevated by the pope, for the time being, to the status of a titular church so that it can be assigned to a newly created Cardinal Priest. So, it means that the Cardinal Priest is getting a deaconry that has been ‘elevated for the duration’ to be a titular church. The Latin pro hac vice meaning “for this occasion only” — designating that it is a temporary elevation. In theory you can also have a pro hac vice situation if the pope decides to assign a titular church to a new created Cardinal Deacon.


Which pope held a pro hac vice title when elected?

John Paul II (#265), when elected pope on October 16, 1978.

From what I can see (and I confess I have not done exhaustive research into this topic) John Paul II was the only pope who has had a pro hac vice title.

Again, from what I can see, there is an easy explanation as to why other popes did not hold pro hac vice titles. I really haven’t had a chance to research the history of pro hac vice (and doubt whether I will get a chance to do so in my lifetime). I had assumed that pro hac vice usage came to be with  Paul VI (#263) given that I could not recall seeing any pro hac vice prior to Paul VI (and my memory isn’t that great when it comes to the histories of individual cardinals). I also thought that the reason why Paul may have come with the idea was rather straightforward. I have now been informed that pro hac vice pre-dates Paul VI — though I don’t have a detailed analysis of its prior usage; i.e., was it mainly in the case of jus optionis promotions. If somebody could do this research, I will be extremely grateful.

Sixtus ‘iron pope’ V (#228), the Franciscan, ex-inquisitor general, on December 3, 1586 in his landmark Postquam verus constitution that set the parameters and tone for the College and curia for the next 350 years did as follows. Four months later, in his Religiosa constitution, he clearly articulated that that there should not be any inter-mingling of titles [i.e., churches] and deaconries.

Between 1586 and 1963, the College was maintained at or below, 70 and there was never a shortage of titles and deaconries. So there was no need for pro hac vice — which is mainly used when a pope runs short of cardinal priest titles (though there is nothing to stop a pope creating a cardinal deacon with a pro hac vice title ‘demoted’ to a deaconry).

The came John XXIII (#262). He was a pope in a hurry, with a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve. Without ever putting down anything in writing that he was overriding Sixtus V, he just waived aside Sixtus V’s time-tested edicts re. the College creating titles and deaconries, in a rush, to accommodate his desire to enlarge and diversify the College. Succeeding popes (other than poor John Paul I (#264) who, alas, didn’t get a chance) have followed John’s example with gusto — with none having, at a minimum, the moral fortitude (if not the necessary anatomical appendages) to set a maximum size for the College (and the orders within it) as did the iron pope — given that setting a ceiling would be seen by prelates as an impediment to their progress up the Church ladder.

So, Paul VI resorted to pro hac vice, when he was short on titles.

At this stage it is worth clarifying that the distinction between Pro hac vice, which means for this occasion, and pro illa vice for that occasion. Given this subtle difference in tense, pro hac vice is said to apply to currently living cardinals, while pro illa vice applies to deceased cardinals. But, this convention isn’t strictly maintained and one can think of both terms as being equivalent.


This now brings us to Cardinal Priest Andrzej Maria Deskur’s death on September 3, 2011 — he having been a cardinal with a pro hac vice title. The next day, our frequent contributor, Louis Epstein left a comment that started: ‘Cardinal Deskur (the Pole to whom JP II gave his own old cardinalitial title after a seven-year vacancy) died yesterday.‘ But, there was an interesting twist here not fully reflected in Louis’ comment. Cardinal Deskur died a cardinal priest, but had been created, by his friend, as a cardinal deacon. Karol Józef Wojtyla (John Paul II) could not have been a cardinal deacon since he was mainly a pastoral cleric with only ‘visiting’ roles in the curia. And that was the rub. Karol Wojtyla was created with a pro hac vice title. At the age of 47 years and one month, Wojtyla, the Archbishop of Kraków since 1964, was the 3rd but last cardinal priest named by Paul VI in his June 26, 1967 consistory at which he created 27 new cardinals. This was Paul’s 2nd cardinal creating consistory, he also having created 27 in his first one in February 1965. Quite a few others at this consistory also got pro hav vice titles.


The deaconry assigned to the future pope was San Cesareo in Palatio (in the palace). The Italians (who should know) claim that this is the wrong name! They say, in the Italian version of Wikipedia: ‘The church of San Cesareo de Appia, commonly and erroneously known as San Cesareo in Palatio , is a church of Rome, in the Celio district , near the port of San Sebastian.’ Hhmmm. You would think that the Vatican (though not in Italy per se) would get this right.

The church, whose current structure is from the 17th century, is not very prepossessing from the outside, does, however, have a rather striking mosaic on the altar wall of God the Father among the angels.

As deaconry, it was left unassigned to a cardinal from April 1939 to December 1958 (those being the good ol’ days when there was no mad scramble for titles to accommodate the never ending Red Tide). Then it was assigned to an Italian cardinal, Francesco Bracci. He held it until until his death on March 24, 1967.

Three months later it was assigned to the Archbishop from Poland. He had it for 11 years. When he became pope, he left it unassigned until May 25, 1985 when it was given to Deskur. In January 1996, Deskur chose to be a cardinal priest per jus optionis given that he had completed the requisite 10 years. He then got San Cesareo pro hac vice.

Will be interesting to see who gets it next. I bet it will be a Pole.


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by Anura Guruge

Pope Francis’ June 28, 2017 Cardinal Creating Consistory: What Makes It Unusual.

by Anura Guruge



There are a number of things that make this consistory stand-out from the last 17 spanning 38 years.

So let’s look at what makes this consistory somewhat unusual, and as such, special.

  1. It is the SMALLEST consistory, in terms of cardinals being created, since Paul VI’s last one in 1977 when only four cardinals were created — but Paul VI, who instituted both the 120 elector limit and the 80-year ‘cut-off’, never exceeded the 120 limit or created any cardinals who were over 80. Benedict XVI, in his last cardinal creating consistory in November 2012, three-months ahead of his resignation, created 6 cardinals — that being the maximum he could create if he were not to exceed the 120-limit.
  2. The first consistory since March 2006 NOT to be held on a Saturday — the last 7 consistories, four of Benedict XVI’s and three of Francis’ all being Saturday consistories with the celebratory Mass being held on Sunday.
    ….
  3. The first consistory, since John Paul II’s 8th consistory on February 21, 2001 to be held on a Wednesday.
    ….
  4. The first consistory since 1991 to be held on June 28. There is a significance to June 28th. The ‘Feast of Saints Peter and Paul‘, Rome’s two founding Apostles, falls, each year, on June 29. So, by having the consistory on June 28, the Vatican can have the celebratory Mass on this special Feast day. This, as such, is thus a ‘Feast of Saints Peter and Paul‘ consistory. John Paul II was found of such consistories. His 1988 cardinal creating consistory, the one before the 1991 one, was also a June 28 affair. His first ever was on June 30, the day after the feast. Paul VI held two consistories very close to this feast.
    ….
  5. Will create the first ever cardinals from first cardinals from El SalvadorLaosMali, and Sweden — as well as the from all of Scandinavia! That is pretty impressive.
    ….
  6. Bishop José Gregorio Rosa Chávez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador will become the FIRST AUXILIARY BISHOP to be created a cardinal!His superior the Titular Bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador is NOT a cardinal.
    ….
  7. First of Francis’ consistories not to create a curial cardinal. (This was also true of Benedict XVI’s last consistory).
    ….
  8. First of Francis’ consistories not to create an over-80, non-elector cardinal. (This was also true of Benedict XVI’s last consistory). This is incongruous. There are no limits as to the non-electors and he could have created as many as he wanted.
    ….
  9. Barring deaths, there will be 121 cardinal electors following this consistory — and that number will not drop to the CONCLAVE-VALID 120 till February 2018. This would indicate, unless the Pope is aware of a very ill under-80 cardinal, that the Pope does not foresee a conclave ahead of February 2018.After Francis’ 1st cardinal creating consistory there were 122 electors; 125 after the 2nd and 121 after the 3rd. So he has always gone over the 120 limit.….

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by Anura Guruge

6 images Of Rome (Italy), In Mid-March 2016, by Father Anthony Churchill.

by Anura Guruge


This books is 100% valid. Read it.

Cover photo by Fr. Churchill.

Father Anthony Churchill, STL, of Sussex, U.K. is one of my closest collaborators when it comes to my papal work. There are umpteen posts related to him on my ‘Popes and Papacy’ blog. Just do a search on ‘Anthony’. In addition to being a gifted (and very qualified) theologian, a beloved parish priest he is also an accomplished photographer. The front cover photo of my (once quite popular) “Next Pope 2011” was a picture taken by Father Churchill (who is not related to ‘Winston‘).

Father Churchill is currently on a well earned sabbatical and spending 5 months in Rome, a city that he has spent much time in — including time he spent studying for his ‘doctorate’ in theology. He has concelebrated Mass with Paul VI in Rome and Pope Benedict XVI in London.

I told him about my ‘6 Images a Day‘ project and asked him if he would supply me with some images from Rome. He had not taken his camera so these pictures are ones he takes with his iPad or iPhone. These pictures are also published on his Facebook page.


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Pictures belong to Fr. Churchill.







FrChurchillby Father Anthony Churchill

Popes In Sombreros — Argentinian Pope Francis Far From First To Sport A Sombrero.

by Anura Guruge


popesinsomberos

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It has become a rite of passage — popes visiting Latin America, in particular Mexico or Cuba, don a sombrero at some point during the trip, usually on the plane on the flight out. But there has also been occasions when a pope is presented with a sombrero, by visiting Latin Americans, at the Vatican.

The first pope to wear one appears to have been Paul VI. He only made one trip to Latin America, and that was to Colombia, in August 1968 to attend the 39th International Eucharistic Congress in Bogotá. 


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by Anura Guruge