Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pope Benedict names new cardinals...

In this morning's news, we see the rumors confirmed that Pope Benedict has named 24 new cardinals. "So... what does that mean?", you might ask. Well, the Sacred College ("collection") of Cardinals is the body composed of the pope's most trusted and important advisers and, more importantly, their main job is to elect the pope. Out of the 24 newly-named cardinals who will be officially installed in what's called a "consistory" or a meeting of the College at the Vatican on November 20th, two are Americans: Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. and Raymond Burke, archbishop emeritus of St. Louis, Missouri who is currently serving as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which basically means that he is the chief justice of the Church's court system and the most important interpreter of canon (i.e. Church) law.

Here's some interesting facts about the College of Cardinals that come right out of the "you're more Catholic than you realize" file. The word "cardinal" comes from a Latin word cardo which means "hinge" and it refers to the cardinals as being the "chief" or "most important" among the Roman clergy. The color "cardinal red" is named after the color that these men are allowed to wear (i.e. they wear red cassocks and birettas instead of the purple that bishops and archbishops wear). According to tradition, the color symbolizes that the cardinal is willing to die for the Faith. And yes, the bird of the same name is actually named after the College of Cardinals because they share a similar shade of red.