Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Cardinal "Impectore"--There is a Secret Cardinal

On Jan. 18, 1998, John Paul II elevated 86 men to the College of Cardinals with one "impectore", i.e, in secret. Sometimes this is done in the case of unfriendly totalitarian regimes such as China, so as not to put the Bishop's life in danger.

On MSNBC, Sr Sharon Euart (who knows something about the all male hierarchy), President of the Canon Law Society of America, noted that the nominee may not actually know that he was elevated impectore. However, according to her, Canon Law states that if the appointment was not made publically known, the appointment ends with the death of the Pope.

Canon 51 Section 3

§3. When the Roman Pontiff has announced the selection of a person to the dignity of cardinal but reserves the name of the person in pectore, the one promoted is not bound in the meantime by any of the duties of cardinals nor does he possess any of their rights. After the Roman Pontiff has made his name public, however, he is bound by the same duties and possesses the same rights; he possesses the right of precedence, though, from the day of reservation in pectore.

On MSNBC, I think it was Keith Olbermann, who asked Sr Sharon, what constituted a public declaration: is it sufficient that there is someone else in the room? etc. Anyway, this could get interesting if some Bishop shows up and wants in on the conclave claiming to the impectore Cardinal.


Post a Comment

<< Home