I missed this yesterday.
VATICAN CITY, 24 FEB 2009 (VIS) – The Holy Father promoted:
- Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to the order of bishops, assigning him the suburbicarian see of Palestrina.
- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, his vicar general for the diocese of Rome, to the order of priests. Cardinal Vallini retains his diaconate of St. Peter Damian ai Monti, elevated "pro hac vice" to presbyteral title.
The College of Cardinals is still divided into the three orders of deacon, priest and bishops, along the lines of the ancient Roman "titles". The closest coworkers of the Bishop of Rome were at the forerunners of parishes, the ancient "titles". They were entrusted to deacons and priests, and those distinctions still remain. Others had dioceses in a close cluster around the City.
Curial cardinals start out as Cardinal Deacons. They can be promoted after a number of years have passed. Cardinals who are ordinaries of dioceses start out as Cardinal Priests. Some Cardinals who hold key positions are made Cardinal Bishops. Instead of having a Roman church they have one of the Suburbicarian Dioceses, near Rome, as their "title". Those dioceses in modern times have their own bishops, however. This is an honorary thing. The Cardinal Dean always also has Ostia along with another of these titular dioceses.
One of the perks for a Cardinal Bishop is that he can sign his name with a +. I remember at a gathering some years ago with the titular Cardinal Bishop a Suburbicarian diocese, Joseph Card. Ratzinger, we heard about the +. He said that when he became Archbishop of Munich, he was +Joseph Ratzinger. He became +Joseph Card. Ratzinger when elevated to the College. When he was moved to Rome to be Prefect of the CDF he was then Joseph Card. Ratzinger without the +. When he was made Cardinal Bishop it was back to +Joseph Card. Ratzinger.
Little perks as signs.