Put Your (Consistory) Dreams Away....
Par for the course.
Of course, with the Angelus behind us for this week, and 28 days before the almost hyperbolically-anointed date (seemingly to everyone except the Pope), the last feasible opportunity for B16 to announce anything would be at tomorrow's General Audience. However, given that the news cycle will already be occupied with the release of Deus caritas est and the logistics provide less than a month for Rome's high-octane Consistory cottage industry to get everything together, it'd be such a mad dash to the finish line that everyone should fly over for the sole purpose of watching the hysterics.
It's doubtful that Ratzinger, in his graciousness, would let such a circus happen... however fun it would be to witness....
And word has, indeed, arrived that as of this writing, the plans have been "deferred" to the 28th of June, the vigil of Ss. Peter and Paul and Joseph Ratzinger's 55th anniversary of priestly ordination.
(Which reminds me of this note I had previously left out: Whenever a consistory is slated for a particular date, it's actually the day before. For example, a consistory revolving around the Chair of Peter would actually have taken place on the 21st, so that the proper feast would have as its focus the Eucharistic celebration, at which the new cardinals concelebrate with the Pope, who bestows upon them the cardinal's ring after the homily.)
Where P&P hits its snag, however, is that more hotel rooms than you'd think have already been booked by our travel-agent friends for the pilgrimages coming with the new metropolitan archbishops who will likely receive the pallium at the hands of the Pope. (So far, two Americans will be invested on that date: Archbishop-elect George Niederauer of San Francisco, who will be installed on 15 February, and Coadjutor Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. DiNardo, who has spent two years in the newly-minted archdiocese as heir apparent to Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, is expected to take the reins in short order following Fiorenza's 75th birthday tomorrow.)
Another difficulty of a February date would have been the weather. Don't be fooled -- Rome gets cold. And anyone who denies that must come up with some other explanation for why the Pope likes wearing ermine. Of course, the winter burr didn't mean anything to the rugged John Paul, who was always hot and held his winter megaconsistories of 1998 and 2001 outside as everybody else froze. A small consistory which could've been held in either the Paul VI Hall or St. Peter's itself would have been the only way around this.
But given the impending curial changes -- now slated for April and said to be of the "massive" variety -- having one new class of cardinals which would need to be quickly followed by another so the new ex officio cardinals can be elevated with dispatch would have been a scheduling nightmare for the far-flung Eminences of the world, who are summoned to Rome and expected to be present each time their college welcomes new members.
And, who knows, there might be some new Americans in line for a red hat by mid-spring who aren't on the common radar today.... Stay tuned.