VATICAN, Feb. 20, 01 (CWNews.com) -- About 15,000 guests are
expected to attend the consistory in Rome on Wednesday at which
Pope John Paul II will elevate 42 new cardinals, and recognize 2
cardinals who have previously been named in pectore.
In the first part of the consistory, to take place on Wednesday
morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope will present each new
cardinal with his red hat. This ceremony, which takes place during a
Liturgy of the Word, signifies the "creation" of a new member of the
College of Cardinals.
Along with the red hat, each new cardinal receives the name of a
parish in Rome of which he becomes titular pastor. The cardinal is
thus incardinated as a member of the clergy of Rome, and thus
eligible to Rome in a conclave to select the Bishop of Rome.
After receiving his red hat and parish assignment, each cardinal
makes a profession of faith and loyalty to the Pontiff.
The new cardinals then receive courtesy visits from relatives,
friends, colleagues, and the general public, in rooms within the
Vatican. Access to the Vatican is open during these visits, and the
public can greet the new cardinals in the Paul VI auditorium or the
The Paul VI auditorium has been designated as the site for
receptions of the Italian cardinals, and certain others (notably
American and Polish) for whom large crowds are expected. The other
new cardinals will receive visitors in rooms within the apostolic
The second stage of the consistory will take place on Thursday
morning, again in St. Peter's Square. There the Pope will concelebrate
Mass with the new cardinals, and give each one his cardinalatial
ring-- a symbol of his new role and his communion with the Holy
See. After that liturgical celebration, the Pope will meet privately
with the new cardinals, their families and close friends, in the Paul
Counting the new members, the College of Cardinals will have 184
members, of whom 135 will be under the age of 80 and thus eligible
to vote in a papal conclave.
This consistory will be the 8th of this pontificate. The most
noteworthy change in the College of Cardinals under Pope John Paul
II has been its more international character. There will now be 96
European cardinals, of whom 65 will be electors. The representation
from other continents will be: Africa, 16 cardinals and 13 electors;
Asia 17 cardinals and 13 electors; North America 18 cardinals and 14
electors; Latin America 33 cardinals and 26 electors; Oceania 4
cardinals, all of them electors.