Monday, May 18, 2009

Time Magazine on the Elevation of Ildefonso Schuster

A number of our readers find some interest in the person of Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, one time Cardinal Archbishop of Milan -- and a man whose liturgical work deserves to be better known in the English speaking world, I might add. In part this is no doubt due to his position in relation to the See of the Ambrosian rite, which is also a See from which a number of Popes have come.

But even if one isn't particularly interested in the person of Schuster, this archival story that I came across quite by accident from a 1929 edition of Time Magazine may be of interest in relation to Vatican protocol and ceremony of that time.

One Red Hat

Monday, Jul. 29, 1929


In the Vatican last week were holy stirrings. Pope Pius XI was to address the Cardinals and add to their number, which Death had depleted from 70 (full strength) to 58. A secret consistory was held. Silver trumpets sounded. The great Sistine choir chanted. There were parades and regalias.

But Pius XI created only one new Cardinal, postponed other elevations until December, made only brief remarks. "Certain events have taken place with which we shall deal later on in the year," he said, evidently referring to friction between the Papal State and Fascist Italy since the signing of their Concordat (TIME, Feb. 18).

Mgr. Ildefonso Schuster was the one new Cardinal. He had been informed of his approaching nomination weeks in advance but according to ritual he was formally nominated in secret consistory. Having spoken the name of his nominee, the Pope asked the assembled Cardinals, "Quid vobis videtur?" ("How does this seem to you?") The Cardinals nodded unanimous approval.

The vast red hat, symbol of Cardinals, was bestowed on Mgr. Schuster three days later in public consistory. As the Pope bestowed the hat, he pronounced Mgr. Schuster "elevated to the splendor of the Roman purple." The new Cardinal kissed the papal slipper, hand, cheek. He was in turn embraced by the 25 assembled Cardinals, who touched his cheeks with theirs.

Cardinal Schuster will later be consecrated Archbishop of Milan, an office once held by Pius XI himself and by the late Cardinal Eugenius Tosi. His full title will then be Cardinal Archbishop. His elevation brought the number of Italian Cardinals to 27, as against 32 men of other nations.

Ildefonso Schuster, son of a stalwart Swiss-German officer in the Vatican's famed Swiss Guard, is accounted an Italian Cardinal because he was born in Rome. A Benedictine, he has devoted his life to scholarship. An intimate friend of Pius XI, he reputedly earned great papal admiration by a treatise on the Council of Nicaea which he presented at the 16th centenary celebration of the Council, held in the Vatican in 1925.

Source: One Red Hat - TIME