Saturday, February 22, 2014

New Cardinals

Today the Holy Father will create nineteen new cardinals, the first of his pontificate.  The consistory will take place at 11am (Roman time; 10am GMT).  Here is the booklet for the consistory.   From 4.30pm to 6.30pm  this evening the new Cardinals will be in the Paul VI Hall and the Apostolic Palace for the traditional courtesy visit.  

We will await to see what Titular Churches they are given. Among those vacant at the moment are the  three famous churches in Trastevere: the Basilica of St Cecilia in Trastevere where the tomb of the martyr is preserved; San Crisogono where the body of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi is venerated, and the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere.  The Basilica of San Anselmo on the Aventine is also vacant.  San Anselmo, a Benedictine church, is the seat of the Abbot Primate of all Benedictines and is famous for its school of liturgy. I notice Pope Benedict's first titular church, Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino is also vacant.

In case you're interested, Blessed John Paul II's titular church when cardinal was San Cesareo in Palatio, situated at the start of the Appian Way. It is now the titular church of Cardinal Antonio Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants. Pope Francis's former titular church was the Jesuit parish church of San Roberto Bellarmino on the Via Panama.

And while we're at it, the titular churches of our two Irish cardinals.  Cardinal Desmond Connell's titular is San Silvestro in Capite, just off the Via Del Corso and in the care of the Irish Pallotines - a head purporting to be that of St John the Baptist's is preserved in a chapel there.  Cardinal Sean Brady's titular church is Santi Quirico e Giuletta on the Via di Tor di Conti.  Dedicated to a son and mother who were martyred; it was the parish church of the old Irish College and some students of the Irish college who died during their studies are buried there.  It was appropriate to give Cardinal Brady that church since he was rector of the Irish College for a time.


  1. Father,do you know if the irish cardinals have ever said mass at those churchs and are they recognised locally and also what was the histroy of been given tge titles hope that makes sense

  2. Thank you for your comment Pete. Yes, I believe the Cardinals do say Mass in their Titular churches. Soon after their elevation, the Cardinals go to "take possession" of their churches, and I believe Mass is part of that. I would presume that, while they do not really have a role in running the churches - the title is purely honorary, they do, or should have some sort of a relationship with the parish priest, clergy and parishioners. The history of the titles: Cardinals were originally the parish priests of Rome who assisted their Bishop (the Pope) and the churches were parish churches. As the title and role of Cardinal developed, those appointed to the Sacred College were consigned an honorary parish within the diocese of Rome and as Cardinals they assumed the title of that parish - the titular. Hope that helps.