What happens at a Consistory of Cardinals?

21/02/2014 4:05 pm

Pope Francis with Consistory attendees

The Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals, according to the new rite introduced during the Consistory of 18 February 2012, contains the following points:

The Greeting; Prayer; Gospel (Mark, 10, 32-45)

At the opening of the celebration the first of the new cardinals then addresses the Holy Father, on behalf of everyone.

Allocution of the Holy Father

The Pope reads the formula of creation, and solemnly proclaims the names of the new cardinals.

"Dear brothers and sisters, we are about to carry out an agreeable and solemn task of our sacred ministry. It chiefly concerns the Church of Rome, but it also affects the entire ecclesial community: we will call certain of our brethren to enter the College of Cardinals, so that they may be united to the Chair of Peter by a closer bond our apostolic ministry. Having been invested with the sacred purple, they are to be fearless witnesses to Christ and his Gospel in the City of Rome and in faraway regions. Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, of Saints Peter and Paul and our Own, we create and solemnly proclaim Cardinals of Holy Roman Church these brothers of ours..."

The Profession of Faith and the oath of fidelity by new cardinals:

"I, N., Cardinal of Holy Roman Church, promise and swear, from this day forth and as long as I live, to remain faithful to Christ and his Gospel, constantly obedient to the Holy Apostolic Roman Church, to Blessed Peter in the person of the Supreme Pontiff, become members of the Roman clergy and cooperate more directly in Benedict XVI and his canonically elected successors, always to remain in communion with the Catholic Church in my words and actions, not to make known to anyone matters entrusted to me in confidence, the disclosure of which could bring damage or dishonour to Holy Church, to carry out diligently and faithfully the duties to which I am called in my service to the Church, according to the norms laid down by law. So help me Almighty God."

Each new cardinal then approaches the Holy Father and kneels before him to receive the cardinal's biretta, the cardinalatial ring and to be assigned a title or deaconry:

The Pope places the biretta on his head and says, in part:

"(This is) scarlet as a sign of the dignity of the cardinalate, signifying your readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquillity of the people of God and for the freedom and growth of Holy Roman Church."

The Pope gives the cardinalatial ring:

"Receive the ring from the hands of Peter and know that your love for the Church is strengthened by the love of the Price off the Apostles."

The new cardinals are assigned a church of Rome ("Title" or "Deaconry"), as a sign of their participation in the pastoral care of the Pope for the City.

The Holy Father hands over the Bull of the Creation of Cardinals, assigns the Title or Deaconry and exchanges a kiss of peace with the new members of the College of Cardinals.

The cardinals also exchange such a sign among themselves.

The rite is concluded with the Lord’s Prayer.

The following day, during the Cappella Papale in the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father will preside at the concelebration of Mass with the new Cardinals.

2014 Consistory

Archbishop Nichols’ Consistory, when he will be made a Cardinal by Pope Francis, will take place on Saturday 22 February 2014 at 9.55am (UK time).

Mass will be offered on Sunday 23 February at 8.50am.


You can watch the Consistory live and the following day's Papal Mass with the new Cardinals on Vatican Player or YouTube.