Pope to Skip Holding Pre-Consistory Meeting With Cardinals?

As with the previous consistory of new cardinals, the Pope appears to have decided against a meeting with members of the College of Cardinals.

Article main image

For the second time in a row, it appears Pope Francis won't be convening a meeting of cardinals ahead of next Wednesday’s consistory for the creation of five new red hats.

In a statement released today, the Vatican only gave details of the consistory for the creation of new cardinals, a courtesy visit, and Mass on the Solemnity of the Saints Apostles Peter and Paul the following day, during which he will impose the Pallia on new bishops.

The traditional pre-consistory meeting is an opportunity for the Pope to consult with members of the College of Cardinals, most of whom will be in Rome for the creation of new princes of the Church. Their role is to act as his closest advisors as well as elect his successor.

Ahead of his earlier consistories, in February 2014 and February 2015, Francis held such meetings. They took place in the Synod Hall, lasted two full days, and were an opportunity for the Pope to hear about issues and concerns from around the world, as well as update the cardinals on Vatican-related issues and those of the universal Church.

For a pope to skip holding a pre-consistory meeting is rare. Benedict dropped such a gathering ahead of his last cardinal-making consistory in November 2012, during which he created six new cardinals, but he held them for his other four.

The Holy See Press Office has not responded to questions about whether the meeting would be going ahead, but sources say he may meet some cardinals individually.

At the previous consistory last November, the Pope is thought to have preferred to avoid a confrontation with the four dubia cardinals who were allegedly planning to resubmit the dubia at the meeting, or at least bring up the topic.

Aware that the cardinals had written again a couple of months ago requesting an audience, and having not responded, the Pope may have decided again to avoid any encounter, although as with Benedict in 2012, it may have been due to the small number of new cardinals. 

In a statement issued today, the Vatican said that on June 28, at 4pm, the Holy Father will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals, “for the imposition of the beretta, the consignment of the ring and the assignment of the title or diaconate.”

The consistory will be followed by a courtesy visit to the new cardinals from 6-8pm in the Atrium of the Paul VI Hall, during which members of the public can meet and greet the five new princes of the Church.

At 9.30am the following day, on the Solemnity of the Saints Apostles Peter and Paul, the Holy Father will bless the holy Pallia to be imposed upon the new metropolitan archbishops, and will celebrate the Holy Mass of the Solemnity of the Saints Apostles Peter and Paul.