Saturday, March 01, 2008

Changes in the Order of Cardinal Deacons

At this morning's Ordinary Public Consistory for the Canonisation of four Beati (Gaetano Errico, Maria Bernarda Bütler, Alfonsa of the Immaculate Conception, and Narcisa of Jesus Martillo Morán), the Holy Father also elevated some Cardinals from the Order of Deacons to the Order of Priests, something which Cardinal Deacons may opt for after having belonged to the Order of Deacons for ten years, according to can. 350 § 5 of the Codex Juris Canonici. Having opted for this transition with the approval of the Holy Father, the new Cardinal Priests occupy then, within the order of Priests, the precedence they would have enjoyed had they immediately been created as Cardinal Priests (can. 350 § 6).

The cardinals who have passed from the order of Deacons to that of Priests are:

- Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez

- Darío Castrillón Hoyos

- Lorenzo Antonetti

- James Francis Stafford

- Giovanni Cheli

Liturgically, this means we will not see these cardinals function as Cardinal Deacons in papal Masses, with dalmatics and mitres, anymore.

Since Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos was, until now, Cardinal Protodeacon (i.e. the first in the Order of Deacons), whose office it is to announce the name of the newly elected Supreme Pontiff (can. 355 § 2), this office had to be reassigned. The new Cardinal Protodeacon is His Eminence Agostino Cacciavillan, former Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States and former President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

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