Pope Tweaks Inauguration Rite of New Pope, Restores Cardinals’ Act of Obedience

Pope Benedict XVI has ordered several changes to the Masses and liturgies that will mark the inauguration of the next pope’s pontificate, CNS reports.


  1. Is this a message that B16 thinks that some of the Cardinals were not obedient to him!!! Makes a lot more sense than a gay conspiracy or that the butler did it.

    An interesting going away present.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #1:
      I am curious as to why this act of obedience which is done in the conclave right before the new Pope is announced to the world, is now being inserted into the inaugaration rite in public? Interesting.

  2. Just a thought…however unlikely…but assuming we can agree that Joseph Ratzinger is in the college of cardinals still, perhaps this is done so the world can see his act of allegiance/obedience to the new pope.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #4:
        You are right Bill. He is part of the over 80 crowd. Normally as a member of the college of cardinals he could participate in the preconclave gatherings called general congregations. These gatherings prepare for the conclave and handles business that must be handled between popes. However, I don’t think he is automatically a cardinal, I think he needs to elevated by the new pope.

  3. And, according to what precedent we have, FWIW*, upon acceptance of the Papacy, a cardinal leaves the Sacred College.

    * Pope Gregory XII had to be elevated to the Sacred College after his abdication.

  4. From CNS When Pope Benedict celebrated his inaugural Mass in 2005, 12 people were chosen to represent all Catholics: three cardinals, a bishop, a diocesan priest, a transitional deacon, a male religious, a female religious, a married couple and a young man and a young woman recently confirmed.

    It seems to me unwise organizationally to have the above ceremony which might imply a similarity of allegiance upon the part of all Catholics.

    The allegiance of cardinals to the pope, as well as the allegiance of priests to a bishop is vastly different because cardinals participate in the governance of the universal church, and priests participate in the governance of a diocese.

    Organizationally, it seems very unwise to give priests the idea that they might have greater allegiance to the Pope or give laity the idea that their greater allegiance should be to the Pope and Bishop rather than to their local pastor. In the case of the Papal Butler he claimed he was acting in the interests of the Pope and the Church in leaking the documents.

    We don’t know the results of the special committee of Senior Cardinals into Vatileaks. There is some speculation that the B16 will meet with these Cardinals before he leaves office and will release the report to the College of Cardinals for their discussions prior to the conclave.

    Maybe B16 wants the Cardinals to meditate on their own responsibilities as well as those of the Pope. Surely the management mess in the Vatican is as much a result of the Cardinals as of the Pope. He told them before the last conclave that he was not “an administrator.”

    Maybe he hopes they will think about their responsibilities for church administration during their discussions before the Conclave, and elect a person whom they are willing to give active support in the reform of the Curia during the new Pontificate.

  5. Pope Benedict won’t because he doesn’t want to.

    He will begin a life out of the eye of the public eye as of 8pm (Rome time) on 28 February. That is his resolute intention. Last week there was a farewell Mass in St. Peter’s (on Ash Wednesday); tomorrow, the Sunday Angelus with 200,000 people present in St. Peter’s Square; Wednesday, the general audience outdoors in order to accommodate 30,00 or more people; Thursday morning, the farewell to the cardinals in the Sala Clementina.

    Friday the sede vacante begins in earnest. The focus moves to the preparatory meetings of the cardinals, entrance into the conclave, voting, election. The new pontificate begins publicly with the blessing from the loggia of St. Peter’s and then, probably on 17 or 19 March, the Inaugural Mass and the bestowal of the pallium. Benedict XVI will surely be remembered, but the focus belongs to the new pope.

    Cardinals over eighty can attend the conclave preparatory meetings. In fact, those meetings will be presided over by the eighty-five year old Dean of the College, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

    Cardinals over eighty will also attend the Inaugural Mass and will join the “younger” cardinals in pledging their obedience to the new pope. This means possibly 140 cardinals in the line-up. I think this is too much emphasis on the cardinals. The provision worked out under Archbishop Piero Marini makes far better ecclesiological sense — the seniors of the three orders of cardinals, a bishop, a priest, a deacon, a woman religious, a male religious, a small group of lay people, including newly-confirmed children.

    I think also that the fantastical speculation on the Herranz, Tomko, De Giorgi Report is beginning to border on the “Dan Brownish.” And the third secret of Fatima? Were we ever told the truth?

  6. In altering the rite isn’t it moving back toward the monarchical/juridical rather than the sacramental? I believe the intention of P. Marini was to emphasize the beginning of the ministry of the bishop of Rome which is above all sacramental.

    Having cardinals bey and bow has little sense in this perspective. Although I wouldn’t disagree that the current mess casts the issue in a certain light. In a larger and longer term context however cardinals need to both assist and critique and I’m not sure the gesture conveys such motives. It seems like a gesture of acquiescence rather than collegiality.

  7. With all due respect to Pope Benedict XVI, his recent actions such as these (plus staying first at Castel Gandolfo and then moving to a newly renovated old monastery IN THE VATICAN) seem ‘cheeky’ as far as I’m concerned. Rather than stepping down peacefully and leaving such things to his successor, he still dipped his hands on the inauguration rite. I hope that whoever succeeds him take a closer look at these changes and make the necessary amendments (or reject them all together), after all B16 is no longer pope by then.

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