Vatican City (Fides Service) - The Cardinals, who oversee the presbyterates of 25 titular and quasi parish churches of Rome, of which 7 are regional deaconries and 6 Palatine deaconries, and 7 (7th century: 6) Suburban Sees, are the advisers and collaborators of the Pope. The College of Cardinals was formed in 1150, with a Cardinal Dean, who is the Bishop of Ostia and the Camerlengo who on the death of the Pontiff has the Administration of the affairs of the Holy See.
From 1059 they are the exclusive electors of the Pope. In the 12th century Cardinals began to be named who were prelates in residence outside of Rome. From the 12th century this pertained to Bishops and Archbishops, from the 15th century also to Patriarchs (Papal Bull Non mediocri of Eugenio IV, 1439); if simple priests, they also have a vote in the councils.
The number of Cardinals, in the 13th to the 15th centuries usually not over 30, was fixed by Sixtus V to 70: 6 Cardinal bishops, 50 Cardinal priests, 14 Cardinal deacons (Constitution Postquam verus, 3 December 1586).
In the private Consistory of 15 December 1958 (A.A.S., 1958), Vol. XXV, p. 987), Blessed John XXIII departed from the number of Cardinals already established by Sixtus V and confirmed by the 1917 Code of Canon Law (Can. 231). Again John XXIII, with the Motu Proprio Cum gravissima of 15 April 1962, established that henceforth all Cardinals were to be bishops.
Paul VI, with the Motu Proprio Ad Purpuratorum Patrum of 11 February 1965, determined the place of the Oriental Patriarch within the College of Cardinals.
The same Roman Pontiff, with the Motu Proprio Ingravescentem aetatem, of 21 November 1970, established that when Cardinals reached the age of 80: a) they ceased to be members of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and of all the Permanent Organisms of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State; b) they become ineligible to elect the Roman Pontiff and to enter the Conclave.
In the Secret Consistory of 5 November 1973 Paul VI established that the maximum number of Cardinals that have the right to elect the Roman Pontiff be set at 120 (A.A.S., 1973, Vol. LXV, p. 163). John Paul II, in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis of 22 February 1996 reconfirms this directive.
The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
[From the Latin Code of Canon Law 1983]
Can. 349 The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church constitute a special College, whose prerogative it is to elect the Roman Pontiff in accordance with the norms of a special law. The Cardinals are also available to the Roman Pontiff, either acting collegially, when they are summoned together to deal with questions of major importance, or acting individually, that is, in the offices which they hold in assisting the Roman Pontiff especially in the daily care of the universal Church.
Can. 350 §1. The College of Cardinals is divided into three orders: the episcopal order, to which belong those Cardinals to whom the Roman Pontiff assigns the title of a suburbicarian Church, and eastern-rite Patriarchs who are made members of the College of Cardinals; the presbyteral order, and the diaconal order.
§2. Cardinal priests and Cardinal deacons are each assigned a title or a deaconry in Rome by the Roman Pontiff.
§3. Eastern Patriarchs within the College of Cardinals have their patriarchal see as a title.
§4. The Cardinal Dean has the title of the diocese of Ostia, together with that of any other church to which he already has a title.
§5. By a choice made in Consistory and approved by the Supreme Pontiff, Cardinal priests may transfer to another title; Cardinal deacons may transfer to another deaconry and, if they have been a full ten years in the diaconal order, to the presbyteral order: priority of order and of promotion is to be observed.
§6. A Cardinal who by choice transfers from the diaconal to the presbyteral order, takes precedence over all Cardinal priests who were promoted to the Cardinalate after him.
Can. 351 §1. Those to be promoted Cardinals are men freely selected by the Roman Pontiff, who are at least in the order of the priesthood and are truly outstanding for doctrine, virtue, piety and prudence in practical matters; those who are not already Bishops must receive episcopal consecration.
§2. Cardinals are created by a decree of the Roman Pontiff, which in fact is published in the presence of the College of Cardinals. From the moment of publication, they are bound by the obligations and they enjoy these rights defined in the law.
§3. A person promoted to the dignity of Cardinal, whose creation the Roman Pontiff announces, but whose name he reserves in pectore, is not at that time bound by the obligations nor does he enjoy the rights of a Cardinal. When his name is published by the Roman Pontiff, however, he is bound by these obligations and enjoys these rights, but his right of precedence dates from the day of the reservation in pectore.
Can. 352 §1. The Dean presides over the College of Cardinals. When he is unable to do so, the sub-Dean takes his place. The Dean, or the sub-Dean, has no power of governance over the other Cardinals, but is considered as first among equals.
§2. When the office of Dean is vacant, those Cardinals who have a suburbicarian title, and only those, under the presidency of the sub-Dean if he is present, or of the oldest member, elect one of their number to act as Dean of the College. They are to submit his name to the Roman Pontiff, to whom it belongs to approve the person elected. SL (Fides Service 29/9/2003 EM lines 78 Words: 965)