Terrá un Concistoro....
A red-hat giveaway on the eve of the solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul -- the 30th anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger's own reception into the papal senate -- would be the first summer consistory since 1991; in keeping with practice, the new cardinals would receive their rings alongside the conferral of the pallium on metropolitan archbishops appointed within the last year at the traditional Mass on Rome's patronal feast, 29 June.
To date, while three (and possibly a fourth) group of Canadian pilgrims will be heading over to cheer on their new archbishops, no pallium pilgrimages are yet planned from the US this year as no metropolitan posts in the States have changed hands since Archbishop Donald Wuerl was named to Washington a year ago next week.
Despite the current lack of American delegations moving Romeward, however, the cost of a round-trip coach ticket from the East Coast to Rome has still skyrocketed past $1,500.
Among other rumblings picked up in prior days, the Roman atelier Gammarelli -- whose customary consistory-week window display is shown above -- has advised its faithful that orders for the non-red wearing will take longer than normal; the papal tailors since the 1700s, the family-owned shop usually makes the cassocks, capes and other finery new red-hats would require for more new princes of the church than it doesn't. And as the traditional month's notice can wreak havoc on the best-laid calendars, several ranking prelates either have the week already blocked out or, coincidentally, will be attending to other business in the Eternal City during the days that customarily mark the beginning of Roman Summer and, thus, the vacation exodus of the Roman Curia.
Given his affinity for dates and the significance thereof, Benedict XVI -- who, in his pre-papal days, took his annual retreat over the ten days from Ascension to Pentecost -- might be given to revealing his plans and the names of up to 20 cardinals-designate on the "Birthday of the Church," 27 May.
Ever the fashion-conscious one, it wouldn't be lost on the papal aesthete that the liturgical color of the day makes for a perfect mesh. It's red, of course.