Friday, February 17, 2012

When Heads of State Placed Cardinals' Birettas


Till 1969 some bearers of the purple receive their insignia from a worldly hand. by Ulrich Nersinger

Cardinal Roncalli Receives Socialist Biretta

Rome (kath.net/im) In France, Spain, Portugal and earlier also in other Catholic countries until half a century ago, the respective head of state had the privilege to place the Biretta the newly appointed cardinals of his country, and also the Nuncio - if this was confirmed by the Senate and The Church. This is how Monsignor Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, received the office of Apostolic Nuncio in France, along with the the Cardinal's insignia in the rooms of the Elysee Palace from the hands of the socialist President Vincent Auriol(photo). However, this is also where the recipient had the obligation, according to Canon 234 of the old Church law books which solemnly and binding declare, that he would in the course of that year, come to Rome for the red hat which he could only receive from the Pope himself.

As the new Cardinals were made known as of May 29th 1967, it was arranged by a decision of the Apostolic Nuncio in Portugal, for Msgr Maximilian von Fürstenberg. A relative of the Cardinal, Micheal von Fürstenberg, described in tiny script ("Report on the celebration on the event of the placing of the red biretta on Archbishop Maximilian Fürstenberg, Eggeringhausen 1967"), as the Prelate had the red Biretta placed on his head by the Portuguese Minister President Thomaz. Already some days before from this date, Maximilian von Fürstenberg received the red Pileolus (skullcap)from the Noble Guard Venceslao Valentini, who had been sent by the Papal Secretary of State to from Rome.

"The invited guests (Frock, Religious, Ladies) and the entire diplomatic Corps, whose dean is always the Papal Nuncio, gathered on the morning of the 3rd of July 1967 at the Royal Palace of Lisbon, the magnificent Palacio da Ajuda'. Meanwhile, the then Pro-Nuncio was picked up by the Chief of Protocal in the Nunciature and went, escorted by a squadron of the Republican Guard, to the Ajuda Palace. At 10:55, the train arrived at the courtyard of the Palace, where an honor guard of the Republican Guard was deployed, and a band playing the papal and Portuguese national anthems. During the meeting between the government and followers of the Pro-Nuncio, then entered the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Cerejeira, followed by several bishops of the chapel while he took his place opposite the position of the President. He was followed by the government led by Prime Minister Prof. Salazar. At 11 o'clock the Pro-Nuncio appeared, followed by the Papal Sub-legate, Monsignor Rotoli, the courier of the Vatican Secretariat of State, Venceslao dei Conti Valentini in the uniform of the Pontifical Noble Guard and the Secretary of the Pro-Nuncio, Father Antonio Becchetti SCI.

"The Pro-Nuncio took his place on a seat at the Epistle side, the red biretta and the Sub-legate put the papal brief in a credenza at the Gospel side and took a seat there. Then entered the President, followed by his civil and military suite. For him, there was a high seat on the Gospel side As he took his place, the Portuguese clergyman Manuel Coehlo Lopez celebrated a Holy Mass... following Holy Mass Monsignor Rotoli gave a short Portuguese address... At that point he placed the Papal Brief naming the Cardinal, that was passed on to Father Antonio Becchetti, who read it with a loud voice.

"Atter the reading of the Brief, the Pro-Nuncio, who attends to the Zucchetto (another name for Pileolus, the skullcap) are dressed in Bishops' purple, goes to the front seat of the president, kneeling there. With a great gesture, the President places the red Biretta on him. Cardinal Maximilian von Fürstenberg rose, exchanged a few words with the president and returned to his seat. After a "Te Deum Laudamus" (alternative with Gregorian chant and polyphonic choral singing), he gave his first blessing from the altar as a Cardinal of Holy Church.

"The Liturgical celebration sounded out with a many voices singing the "Jubilate Deo omnis terra". While now decked in Cardinal's robes, the guests in the hall Joa V were met by a little Sala de Musica to the President, Minister Salazar, President of the National Assembly and the ministers and their ladies presient. After the performance had reached the most magnificent and probably largest hall in the palace, the throne room, there was Maximilian von Furstenberg, now all in red, addressed to the President."

On the occasion of the Consistory of 28 April 1969, the Governments of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain delivered by then, accredited nuncios a communique in which the Holy See announced that the privilege, which the respective heads of state conceded the right, in their country, to be styled in purple and set up with the red biretta, will no longer exist. The decision was made since the 19th century where efforts were pursued to eliminate the influence of secular authority (Crown Cardinals, veto power in the conclave, etc.) but was probably also influenced by current political considerations. In 1965, the Bishop of Malaga, Angelo Herrera y Oria, received the red Biretta from General Franco, the Spanish head of state, which had led to violent protests.

For more information on the theme "Cardinal" and much more:
Ulrich Nersinger, Liturgien und Zeremonien am Päpstlichen Hof (Band II), nova&vetera, Bonn 2011, ISBN 978-3-936741-75-9
Link to original...





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