Sunday, March 05, 2006

What exactly happens at a consistory

On February 24th Pope Benedict XVI delivered his announcement of intent to elevate 14 bishops and 1 priest to the College of Cardinals. Since only bishops maybe cardinals, the priest who is being elevated will be ordained a bishop sometime before the consistory.

These 15 found out about the elevations a few days before the announcement was made.

On March 23rd, there will be a private consistory where all members of the College of Cardinals will meet with the Holy Father. It is not believed that the cardinal-designates will be in attendance.

The consistory will take place on March 24th in the Paul VI Audience Hall. Previous consistories have been held outdoors, but due to the cold weather and the small number of new cardinals, it will be held indoors.
The consistory will take place during a Liturgy of the Word service. During the ceremony, each bishop will promise fidelity to the death to the Holy Father. Then, each will approach the Holy Father and receive a red biretta. Each cardinal will also be appointed titular bishop to a Roman church. This is an ancient custom reflecting on the original role of the College of Cardinals.

Following the ceremony, there will be various receptions held throughout the Vatican. Traditionally, these receptions are held on the first floor of the apostolic palace, although they have also been held in the Audience Hall and the Vatican Museum.

On March 25th, there the Holy Father and the new cardinals will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. During this Mass, they will receive their cardinals rings from the Holy Father.

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