Page 1, 9th March 1973

9th March 1973
Page 1
Page 1, 9th March 1973 — Economy class cardinals

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Locations: Edinburgh, Los Angeles, Rome


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Economy class cardinals

From Michael Wilson in Rome This had been a memorable week for those of us who have bedn privileged to attend the installation of the 30 new cardinals during. what was also the beginning of .the Lenten season.

Perhaps most memorable moment was when Pope Paul said he had decided to name two other cardinals whose names he had kept in pectore. These were:

Stephen Trochta. Bishop of Litomerice. Czechoslovakia — the Communist country whose four new Roman Catholic bishops were ordained last weekend "after many difficulties."

Julius Hossu, Bishop of Cluj • Gherla of the Rumanian church of the Byzantine rite, who died in 1970.

The streamlining of the installation ceremonies into the one day on Monday stressed the religious nature of this elevation to the cardinalate; there was. a day for rejoicing with relatives and close friends on the Tuesday and then came the first day of the Church's solemn period of penance, Ash Wednesday.

This recalled. more than the former long-drawn-out triumphalistic rituals of only a few years back. the wholly ecclesiastical nature of this dignity in which the recipient today is known as "a Prince of the Church."

The cardinals were not Princes when the office was originally conceived but, in the literal meaning of the word "hinges" around which the early Church revolved as a door around its hinges.

The word was used in the Church before the Council of Nicca in the year 325, but the metaphor was not coined by Christianity but dates from remotest antiquity. In the Old Testament the Books of Joshua and Judges refer to the five princes of the Philistines as "axles" or "hinges" of the people.

Parish churches or "titles" appear to have been first instituted in the Roman Church under Pope Marcellus (304). according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, and the priests to whose charge they were permanently committed were Car dinal Priests.

The deacons of the Roman Church were at first seven in number in imitation of the original apostolic institution. They were not at first assigned to any particular district and as chapels arose in the city each deacon came to have one or more of the 14 regions into which Rome was divided. They were Cardinal Deacons tvho hold no sees while the Cardinal Priests include those of the British Isles John Carmel Heenan, of Westminster, William Conway of Armagh and Gordon Joseph Gray of St Andrew's and Edinburgh.

The streamlined installation 01 the new cardinals was watched

by some with much satisfaction and by others, a mixed group. with much bitterness. The happy

ones were those who had advocated for years a down-toning in the triumphalism of the traditional ceremonies: the bitter were to he found in two groups.

There were those who were nostalgic of the "good old days" of ostrich fans, gestatorial chairs, Noble Guards. etc.. and those who wanted the -College of Cardinals to he abolished and replaced by the newly created Synod of Bishops.

After talking to a number of the new cardinals. however, I found that they were happy over the reduced "temporality" of their new ecclesiastical stature. •

Before Pope Paul's astringent decrees each cardinal needed the Cappa Magna with its 12 yards of watered scarlet silk, the red hat and a cupboard full of other trappings — average cost between £1,500 and £2,000. Today the new cardinal gets away with less than £150.

I heard this from an Irish priest: Cardinals Conway of Armagh and Phillip Manning of Los Angeles can safely criticise or comment -aloud between themselves as they are the only two Irish speakingcardinals in the College. Cardinal Manning was born in the diocese of Cork.

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