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purposes of the election of a Pontiff, they are in modern times equal. All have an equal vote. All are equally eligible; but are not, as is often imagined, exclusively eligible. Any fit and proper person, whom the cardinals may in their consciences think the most likely to rule the Church to the greater glory of God and welfare of his Church, may be elected. It is hardly necessary to say that such person has almost invariably been found among the members of their own body, and that there is not at the present day the smallest probability that any other should be chosen. One important point of difference there is between the cardinal deacons and their colleagues. The former need not be in full and irrevocable holy orders. But as regards the choice of the Pope and the business of the Conclave, this difference signifies nothing. Should a cardinal deacon be chosen Pope, he must receive priest's orders.
Since the time of Sixtus V., at the close of the sixteenth century, there have never been more than seventy cardinals at the same time. But inasmuch as the great majority of those promoted to that dignity are men far advanced in life, the succession is somewhat rapid; and it is recorded that Clement VIII. (ob. 1605), during a pontificate of thirteen years, created fifty-three cardinals. Paul V. (ob. 1621), during his reign of fifteen years, made sixty. Urban VIII. (ob. 1644) advanced no less than seventy-three persons to the purple, besides four left in petto * at his death, thus entirely renewing the Sacred College during his pontificate of twenty years. This Urban VIII. was the
* This phrase will be explained at a future page.
great Barberini Pope, whose zeal for the faith is seen in the celebrated College de Propaganda Fide, and w hose nepotism may be read in the vast Barberini palace and galleries and collections, and in the great number of buildings still marked by the bees, which were his cognizance. This was the man who stripped the bronze from the dome of the Pantheon to turn it into a canopy for the tomb of St. Peter, who used the Coliseum as a stone quarry for his building operations, and was the barbarian of whom scandalized Eome said, "Quod non fecerunt barbari, id fecere Barberini!"
Nevertheless, this notable Pope, whose, "creations" in stone and mortar were about as numerous as those in "purple," was almost equalled in the latter respect by several of his successors. Clement XI. (ob. 1721), during a pontificate of twenty years, created seventy cardinals. Benedict XIV. (ob. 1758), during his reign of seventeen years, made sixty-four; and Pius VI. (ob. 1799), in the course of his pontificate of twenty-four years and eight months (the longest reign in all the long list till it was surpassed by that of the present Pope), sixty-three. Thus Urban VIII. (Barberini) would have remained on record as the most prolific creator of cardinals, were it not that Pius VII., during his papacy of twenty-three years and five months—the next longest to that of his predecessor Pius VI.—created no less than ninety-eight, besides leaving ten in petio at his death—a number which is the more remarkable from the fact, that, by reason of the disturbed condition of the times and the misfortunes occasioned to the world by the first French Empire, he was not able to create any cardinal from the 26 th of March, 1804, to the 8th of March, 1816. The number of creations due to Pius IX. -will no doubt be large; but it is hardly likely, though his reign has been so much longer, that he -will reach the number of Pius VII.
It may be observed, however, that it has not been without some show of good reason that the later Popes have been desirous of leaving a well-filled College of Cardinals at their death. The smallness of the number of Cardinals in Conclave has frequently been the occasion of difficulty in coming to an election, and consequent long duration of the Conclave—a circumstance which has always been held to be, and may readily be believed to be, injurious to the Church. In old times, indeed, when the period during which the Holy See remained vacant was one of utter anarchy and lawlessness in Eome, it was a matter of the highest importance that the election should be made as quickly as possible. And even in more recent times, a prolonged Conclave was always the cause of disorders both in Eome and to a certain degree in the Church generally. It may also well be believed that scandalous elections and simoniacal bargainings and promises were much more likely to occur in a College composed of but a small number of individuals.
Having had occasion to speak of the creation of cardinals in petto, it may be as well to take this opportunity of explaining the meaning of that phrase, before proceeding to speak of those regulations, customs, and specialties which are essential to a sufficient understanding of the nature of the august body to which the making of the Pope is entrusted.
Various causes occasionally arose to lead a Pontiff to deem it undesirable to name openly to the world the person whom it was his wish and purpose to create a cardinal. Sometimes the opposition, or at all events the discontent, of some one among the sovereigns of Europe, sometimes jealousies and ill-will among the members of the Sacred College themselves, and sometimes the consideration that the individual to be promoted might for a time be more serviceable to the Holy See in the less exalted dignity from which he was to be elevated to the purple, induced the Pontiff to keep his nomination secret. Martin V. (ob. 1431) was the first who thus created cardinals in secret. And the usage as practised by him and sundry of his successors is to be distinguished from the subsequent plan of creating in petto to which it led. Pope Martin created in one batch fourteen cardinals, naming and publishing only ten, and confiding in secret Consistory to the members of the Sacred College the names of the other four, who were thus secretly created but not published. The Pope further took the precaution of confirming his secret nomination in a subsequent Consistory, and not only strictly enjoined the cardinals to publish the creation of the persons in question and to consider them as cardinals in case he, the Pope, should die without having published them, but made them swear solemnly that they would do so. The case the Pope had looked forward to happened. Martin died without having published the names of the cardinals
thus secretly created. But the College, their promises and oaths notwithstanding, refused to recognise the persons in question as cardinals, or allow them to take any part in the election of the new Pope. In some similar cases, the succeeding Pope created afresh the secretly named cardinals of his predecessor out of regard for his memory. In more cases, those who remained unpublished when their patron died never obtained the purple. The cardinals themselves always set themselves strongly against these secret nominations.
But as time went on the absolutism of the Popes always went on increasing, and the power of the cardinals to resist it diminishing. And Paul III., the Farnese (ob. 1549), a very powerful and high-handed Pontiff, pushed the practice of secret nomination a step in advance. Up to that time the Popes had always named the cardinals whose promotion they were unwilling to publish in secret Consistory, taking the Sacred College into their confidence. Paul simply declared that besides those named as cardinal there were one or two others, as the case might be, whose names he reserved in his own breast (in petto), to be named when he should think proper. And, further, it became the practice for a cardinal created in this fashion to take precedence in the College according to the date of his secret nomination, whereas previously the secretly named cardinals had taken rank according to the date of the publication of their dignity.
The form used at present in the practice of this secret nomination is as follows. The Pope in Consistory, after