Vatican City (Fides Service) – The Consistory, (meaning, “where they come together") is a solemn meeting of Cardinals presided by the Pope to discuss important issues regarding the government of the Church. In the last centuries of the Roman Empire this was the name given to meetings of imperial dignitaries, presided by the Emperor in the palace of government. The Concistory convoked by the Pope has however always a consultative value not deliberative.
According to the Code of Canon Law, canon 353, with their collegial activity Cardinals assist the Supreme Pontiff especially in concistories, in which they meet convoked by the Pontiff, under his presidency. Concistories can be ordinary and extraordinary.
All Cardinals are convoked to the Ordinary Consistories, at least those who are in Rome, to be consulted on important matters or carry out certain important acts.
All Cardinals are convoked to the extraordinary concistory, celebrated for special needs of the Church or for discussion serious issues.
Only the ordinary Consistory with particular solemnity can be “public”: that is besides the cardinals other persons invited for the occasion may also attend.
During these 25 years of his pontificate Pope John Paul II has called 6 extraordinary Consistories and 8 Concistories for the creation of new Cardinals.
1979, 5 - 9 November:
Structure of the Roman Curia; The Church and present day culture. Financial situation of the Holy See.
1982, 23 - 26 November:
Reform of the Roman Curia; Revision of Code of Canon Law Financial situation of the Holy See; IOR-Banco Ambrosiano case.
1985, 21 - 23 November:
Reform of the Roman Curia.
1991, 4 - 6 April: The Church and present day threats to life. Proclamation of Christ sole Saviour and the threat of Sects.
1994, 13 - 14 June:
Preparation and celebration of the Jubilee 2000.
2001, 21 - 23 May:
Church prospects in the Third Millennium in the light of Novo millennio ineunte.
Concistories for the creation of Cardinals:
1979, 30 June: 15 new Cardinals
1983, 2 February: 18 new Cardinals
1985, 25 May: 28 new Cardinals
1988, 28 June: 24 new Cardinals
1991, 28 June: 22 new Cardinals
1994, 26 November: 30 new Cardinals
1998, 21 February: 22 new Cardinals
2001, 21 February: 42 new Cardinals
Total number of Cardinals created by Pope John Paul II in 8 concistories: 201 Cardinals.
(S.L.) (Fides Service 29/9/2003; lines 44 – words 436)