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February consistory will follow newly revised ritual

January 10, 2012

The Vatican has announced a series of changes in the ritual that will be carried out when Pope Benedict XVI raises 22 prelates to the College of Cardinals on February 18.

At the February consistory, the Gospel reading will be slightly shorter, and the prayers will be those originally used after Pope Paul VI approved changes in the ceremony after Vatican II.

Also, the new cardinals will receive their red hats, their rings, and their assignments to titular churches in Rome all in the same ceremony. In the past, the cardinals received their birettas at a public ceremony and their rings and titles at a private ceremony that followed. The Vatican’s liturgical office noted that since there is no longer any reason for a second private ceremony, the process could be simplified.

In announcing the changes, the Vatican explained that the goal was to provide a liturgical setting for an act that is not itself liturgical or sacramental. (The elevation of new cardinals is, the announcement noted, “part of the governance of the Church.”)

The Vatican emphasized that one important aspect of the consistory will be unchanged: On the day after receiving their red hats, the new cardinals will concelebrate Mass with the Roman Pontiff.


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