in pectore cardinal

Both Andrea and David asked related the same question regarding the in pectore cardinal that Pope John Paul II created in 2003.
A little more background on cardinals: while not as important as it once was, the ranking of cardinals is largely dependent on when they were selected as cardinals. In pectore cardinals retain the rank of the date which they were first selected in pectore, not the date they were revealed. If a pope selected a cardinal in pectore in 2005, he would outrank a cardinal created in 2010 even if the in pectore cardinal was not revealed until 2015. This is ignoring the different classes of cardinals but I digress.
As previously mentioned, in pectore cardinalship is to acknowledge, even if only by the pope, that the pope wishes for that person to be one of his cardinals although there are circumstances preventing his public revelation.
As far as I know, a cardinal in pectore does not know that he was named a cardinal. The only person who officially knows who the cardinal is would be the pope. In theory, he could tell his advisors orally but without some sort of official statement, signed and sealed by the pope, it is without merit and thus ignored.
Since Pope John Paul II died before revealing the cardinal’s name and apparently he did not include his name in any document that was to be opened after his death, there is no official word of this cardinal’s identity. In this situation, the honor of being a cardinal is passed.
Saying that it never happened may be too strong but in effect, it is correct. A cardinal is not spirtually different from anyone else (i.e. someone baptized has a “spiritual mark” on their soul from it- no such thing occurs with a cardinal) so it is of no matter in the spiritual realm.
All in all, according to the Vatican Press Office, we have no idea who was selected by the Pope in 2003 and we have no further method of finding out.

Posted by Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

2 Replies to “in pectore cardinal

  1. What should one do if he suspects he is the cardinal in pectore selected by John Paul II in 2003?


  2. Nothing. Keep living your life as you have and who knows, maybe you’ll become a cardinal under Benedict XVI.


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