Which titular churches will the new Cardinals receive?

Cardinals are the Pope’s special Roman clergy.  Historically they were the deacons and priests of diaconal and presbyteral “titles” (parishes) of Rome, while the cardinal bishops were bishops of little dioceses nearby.   The College of Cardinals is still divided into the three orders of bishop, priest and deacon.  Cardinals these days are nearly always consecrated bishops, but they still fall into these orders depending on which cardinalatial title they receive.

The new Cardinals will need their own titular churches in Rome.  The titles will be released close to the consistory itself.

Usually when men are made Cardinal they receive a presbyteral title if they are diocesan bishops somewhere.  They become Cardinal priests.  Men who are in the Roman Curia are given diaconal titles as Cardinal deacons.  Men are raised to be Cardinal bishop if they come, for example, to be Prefect of one of the most important Congregations, such as the “Suprema” (CDF).

Eventually, each Cardinal must go to take possession of his titular church, which he does accompanied by an special “notary” monsignor as a witness for the papal household.

Right now there are 33 titular churches vacant in Rome.

I an assuming His Future Eminence Raymond S.R.E. future-Card. Burke will be appointed to a diaconal title.  He was a diocesan bishop, but is not now.

Here are diaconal titles that are open, among them some of Rome’s most ancient churches:

  • S. Agata de’ Goti
  • S. Anselmo all’Aventino
  • S. Maria in Aquiro
  • S. Maria in Cosmedin
  • SS. Nome di Gesù e Maria in Via Lata
  • S. Teodoro
  • Ss. Vito, Modesto e Crescenzia

It should be interesting to see how this goes.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. dcheney says:

    They titles are not typically published until the Consistory itself.

  2. medievalist says:

    The picture reminded me of another campaign that should be launched…bring back the galero!

  3. mgalexander says:

    Serving as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura is not sufficient to warrant an episcopal title?

  4. I second mgalexander’s question.

    Another question that occurred to me is this. The consistory will not take place for another month. Suppose — and God forbid this should happen — the Pope died before the consistory. How would this affect the eligibility of the cardinals-elect to vote in the conclave?

  5. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Z,
    Do the Eastern Patriarchs who become Cardinals now receive titular churches and thus become Roman clergy? I ask because Romano Amerio was troubled when H.H. Paul VI did not follow this ancient tradition for Eastern Patriarchs. He referred to this as the “Deromanization of the Sacred College”.

    John M.

  6. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Curial cardinals usually start out as cardinal deacons, like Cardinal Levada. What’s interesting is that only 7 diaconal titles are available, though 10 of the new cardinals are curial. Perhaps Cardinal Burke’s experience as a metropolitain archbishop will make it more likely that he will be a cardinal-priest.

    Moreover, no episcopal titles are available. That said, Cardinal Burke is young enough that he could be promoted over the years. I would say that it’s more likely that we get an American cardinal-bishop before an American pope.

  7. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Eastern-rite patriarchs who become cardinals are cardinal-bishops, and their title is their patriarchal see and are not Roman clergy.

  8. ErnieNYC says:

    Cardinals-designate are not juridically members of the Sacred College until their name is read from the biglietti at the consistory…that being the case, if the Pope were to die before the consistory, these announcements would be void, and the designees would not be permitted to enter the conclave

  9. Jason Keener says:

    I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to dispense with the practice of naming Eastern Catholic Patriarchs Cardinals and simply allow Eastern Catholic Patriarchs to vote in conclaves as Eastern Catholic Patriarchs. I know some Eastern Catholics are a bit offended that their Patriarchs, who lead autonomous particular churches, are asked to take on a title of the Latin Church. It does seem a bit odd, no?

  10. The Eastern patriarchs back in the day never complained about holding titles from the emperor at Constantinople, that I know of, so it’s a bit much to complain about titles from the pope at Rome. (Of course, if Catholic patriarchs from the East have imperial titles as one of their bugaboos and reasons to seek communion with Rome, then objecting to Roman titles would be keeping things consistent. But I don’t know much about church history in the east, frankly.)

  11. Prof. Basto says:

    Serving as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura is not sufficient to warrant an episcopal title?

    Titles of Cardinal Bishop are limited in number because there are only seven suburbicarian dioceses. So, even heads of Congregations are usually not Cardinal Bishops. In fact, no one in recent memory has been created a Cardinal and made directly a Cardinal Bishop.

    That just doesn’t happen, barring very exceptional circumnstances in the history of the Church (e.g. when Pope Gregory XII summoned the Council of Constance as a proper Ecumenical Council and then resigned, authorizing its subsequent acts during the Sede Vacante, the Council created the former Pope a Cardinal, and granted him a suburbicarian see, so that he at once became a Cardinal Bishop). But ordinarily, no one enters the Sacred College as a Cardinal Bishop (except Patriarchs of Oriental rite, who, under the current norms, automatically rank as Cardinal Bishops upon elevation to the Cardinalate, but are not assigned positions in the clergy of Rome and rank below the Cardinal Bishops who are holders of Suburbicarian Sees).

    One is initally made a Cardinal deacon or a Cardinal priest (because there are several avaliable churches in Rome to which one can be assigned as Cardinal-priest or Cardinal-deacon), and, only when a vacancy happens among the Cardinal Bishops (usually by death, but also by election to the Papacy, etc), the Pope then selects one of the more prominent Cardinal (usually a high ranking prelate of the Curia) for promotion to the rank of Cardinal-Bishop.

    Currently, no title of suburbicarian See is vacant. So it would not even be possible to create a Cardinal Bishop at the moment, unless the Pope were to dismember one of the suburbicarian Sees so as to create a new one (not likely to happen).

    The only one in this consistory who will enter directly the Order of Bishops, ranking as a Cardinal Patriarch (below the Cardinals who possess Suburbicarian Sees) is the Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts.

    In realitly the Pauline reforms created two sub-orders within the Order of Cardinal Bishops: the upper sub-class of the Cardinal-Bishops who are titular Bishops of a suburbicarian diocese; and the lower sub-class of the Cardinal Bishops who are Patriarchs of Oriental Rite.

  12. mgalexander says:

    Prof. Basto, thank you for your very informative reply.

  13. Prof. Basto says:

    Suppose — and God forbid this should happen — the Pope died before the consistory. How would this affect the eligibility of the cardinals-elect to vote in the conclave?

    As the language in Archbishop Burke’s letter (the one issued upon news of his intended promotion) revealled, the Pope has for the time being only announced an INTENTION. That intention has no juridical effect. Our most holy lord the Pope INTENDS to create Cardinals at a forthcoming consistory he has summoned. Until then, he can die, or he can simply change his mind. Only when the actual creation before a Consistory takes place (as required by the Church’s law, namely the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Eastern Canons) will the clergymen in question become Cardinals.

    Juridically, in the Church, there is no such thing as a “Cardinal-designate” or “Cardinal-elect”; this is not like the situation of Bishops-elect, who are not yet consecrated but already have an apostolic letter of appointment. Those prelates that the Pope announced he intends to name as Cardinals haven’t been appointed yet. And they need to be appointed before an assembled Consistory of Cardinals summoned by the Pope to witness their creation as Cardinals.

    So they simply CANNOT enter a conclave were the Pope to die today (God forbid). If they were admitted to the Conclave, the Papal election would be null and void (unless it could be mathematically determined from the tally of the vote that the elected one would have passed the two-thirds majority even if all the illegitimate electors had voted for him and the total number of illegitimate electors could be subtracted from the majority without affecting the result).

    In times past, the Pope would FIRST summon a consistory of his Cardinals (not in the presence of the persons being created Cardinals), and there he would formalize the appointments (by formally announcing before the Consistory the creation of new Cardinals, with the publication of the names or the reservation in pectore). The prelates would then already be cardinals from that point, because the creation before a consistory had already taken place. Those plelates that had their names published in consistory would be able to enter into a Conclave and to discharge all powers and privileges of the rank from that point on, even if they had not received the insignia of the office. They would be then summoned to receive the insignia (red had, ring, etc), either from the Pope himself or from their Catholic Sovereign (in the cases in which the Apostolic See empowered Catholic heads of state to grant the birretta as a special privilege).

    So the RECEPTION OF THE INSIGNIA (birretta, ring, etc), is not necessary for the possession of the rank of Cardinal, with the right and duty of entering into Conclave, etc. But the CREATION BEFORE A CONSISTORY (by the reading of the formal formula of creation and publication) is necessary for such a possession of the rank of Cardinal to have juridical effect.

    Nowadays, in the John Paul II/Pietro Marini format of the ceremonies (a further reform after the Paul VI reform of the ceremonies of creation of Cardinals), the creation and publication of the Cardinals before a consistory and the reception of the birretta takes place at the same ceremony, and is followed the next day by the reception of the ring during Mass, the “Mass of Rings”.

    So, in the current format, because the new Cardinals expected to receive the red hat in the same ceremony of their creation as Cardinals, they need to be summoned to attend the rite of the Consistory. That’s why the pope needs to announce his intention, and the names of those he inteds to create, in advance. But that announcement remains just a statement of intention.

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