Previous Question Next Question
   
In Pectore Cardinals
Question from Evan Koop on 10/14/2003:

Of the 31 Cardinals named by Pope John Paul II recently, one was 'in pectore' and his name was not revealed. How many in pectore cardinals are there, and what are their rights and duties as compared to other Cardinals? Also, are they required to attend the conclave to elect the next pope, and wouldn't this blow their cover?

God bless you, Evan, St. Paul MN

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 10/19/2003:

A cardinal in pectore (or in petto) is one whose selection has been made by the pope, but whose name has not been disclosed to the public; the title is derived from the Latin for “in the heart.” Traditionally, the pope places the name in an envelope that is sealed and stored away and remains unknown to everyone save for the pontiff himself. So long as the cardinal in question remains unknown, he has no public title, rights or duties. If or when the pope chooses to reveal the name, the cardinal takes his rightful place among his fellow cardinals. Also, his seniority within the college is calculated not from when the name was made public but from the time of the secret selection. The in pectore cardinals are not themselves aware of their appointment.

In pectore cardinals are most often (but not always) named in those countries where the Church is persecuted. The pope thus acknowledges – albeit in secret – the importance and achievements of a particular prelate without placing his life in further jeopardy from reprisals from the government or anti-Catholic forces. Two recent examples of the pope revealing the names of in petto cardinals were both in the consistory of 2001. Two previously in pectore cardinals were openly proclaimed by Pope John Paul II – Marian Cardinal Jaworski, Abp. of Lviv for the Latins and Janis Cardinal Pujats, Abp. of Riga.

It is important to note that if a pope dies without revealing the names of any in pectore cardinals, their appointments remain secret and the choices are considered void, and there is no possibility of their entry into the College unless the next pope appoints them on his own volition (and without being aware of their previous nomination by his predecessor). Thus, in pectore cardinals do not take part in any conclave because no one knows they are cardinals and their appointments die with the pope in any event.

As for the identity of the one in pectore cardinal among the new cardinals to be installed in the consistory, only the pope knows.

COPYRIGHT 2019

Click here to send this Question and Answer to a friend

Previous Question Next Question


Back to topics list.

 

HOME - EWTNews - FAITH - TELEVISION - RADIO - LIBRARY - CHANNEL FINDER WATCH ONLINE - FAQ - EWTNKids
WHAT'S NEW - EWTN MOBI - GENERAL - RELIGIOUS CATALOGUE - PILGRIMAGES - PRESS ROOM - ESPAÑOL

Terms of Use      Privacy Policy      Contact Us

EWTN Global Catholic Network
5817 Old Leeds Rd., Irondale, AL 35210 USA 1-205-271-2900