Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Public Consistory II

After the lenghty excursus in my previous post about the entrance of the Papal procession into the Vatican Basilica, this second part of the description of the Public Consistory will focus on the ceremonial details of the Public Consistory itself.

The first act of the Consistory is the public obbedienza of the Sacred College of the Cardinals to the Sovereign Pontiff, who's sitting on the Throne in the apse of Saint Peter's: the Cardinals march in procession with their cappe magne unfolded on the ground to kiss the Pope's ring while the papal cantors sing pieces of sacred poliphony.

(Below: Obbedienza outside the Consistory. The Cardinals new Pope John XXIII's ring in the Lateran Basilica)

The Cardinal's cappe on this occasion are always violet, because in previous centuries Consistories were costumarily held during Ember Days or during penitential times.

After the obbedienza ceremony has come to an end, the Consistorial Advocates are allowed to speak their final perorations for the causes of the Saints.

Meanwhile, the Cardinal Deacons go into the Chapel where the new Cardinas are still waiting, to lead them in the presence of the Holy Father.

At this point, the new Cardinals, after the three usual genuflections, go up to kiss the Pope's ring and to receive his embrace. Then, they go and sit near the other members of the Sacred College.
After the last peroration of the Consistorial Advocates, the Secretary for the Briefs ad principes comes up near to the Papal Throne and, standing on the left of the Holy Father, while the Advocates are kneeling at the foot of the Cathedra, near the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Rites, and the Promoted and the Deputy Promoter of the Faith, he addresses a short speech in response to them.

At this point, the ceremony of the imposition of the galero takes place:

One by one, the new Cardinals step up to the Papal Throne and kneel.

The new Pontiff then imposes the red, large hat on the Cardinal's head uttering the traditional formula:

"Ad laudem omnipotentis Dei et Sanctae Sedis ornamentum, accipe galerum rubrum, insigne singularis dignitatis cardinalatus, per quod designatur quod usque ad mortem et sanguinis effusionem inclusive pro exaltatione sanctae fidei, pace et quiete populi christiani, augmento et statu sacrosanctae romanae Ecclesiae, te intrepidum exhibere debeas, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti."

(Below: Bl.John XXIII and Pius XI imposing the galero on the head of new Cardinals)

Finally, the Sovereign Pontiff imparts the solemn Papal blessing, and a procession to the Pieta chapel begins, where the Pope takes off his liturgical vestments, and he receives the final homage from the Sacred College. Then he departs.

At this point the new Cardinals are leaded by the other members of the Sacred College back to the Altar of the Cathedra with a long procession throughout the main nave of the Vatican Basilica, while the Cappella Sistina sings a poliphonic setting of the Te Deum.
In the Sanctary, the old cardinas take their place in their pews. The new Cardinals, when the choir sings "Te ergo quaesumus famulis tuis subveni, quos praetioso sanguine redemisti", prostrate on the ground with the hood of their cappa on the head and the train fully unfolded on the ground.

Finally, the Dean of the Sacred College steps up on the Epistle side of the Altar and says the final prayers onto the new members of the College. Then, the new Cardinals raise, receive the embrace of their confreres, and pray on the tomb of St. Peter.

In the afternoon of the same day, the Attendant of the Robes of His Holiness carries the red galero to the Cardinals at their mansions.

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