Eastern Cardinals

First of all, I don’t want this thread to turn into a discussion about whether or not Eastern hierarchs should accept scarlet hats. That being said, are Eastern cardinals canonically members of both their native church Sui iuris and the Latin Church? If not, how can they be cardinals of the Holy Roman Church?

I am no canon lawyer but the last three heads of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have also been made Cardinals by consecutive Popes:

Josyp Cardinal Slipyj

Myroslav Cardinal Lubachivsky

Lubomyr Cardinal Husar (current)

IMO, (and for what little it’s worth), they absolutely should not. But that’s an aside, and not part of the discussion. :slight_smile:

Huh? :confused: Maybe I just don’t understand the question.

Cardinal is not a clerical position, there is no need to be a member of the Latin Church.

I know that at least the last two Patriarchs of Antioch and All the East (Head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church) have turned down the honor as they do not think it is one they should take.

I can see both sides. One side that the Cardinals pick the head of the Latin Catholic Church and the other side that the Cardinals pick the head (in a way (not looking to start an argument with this statement, if anyone wishes to start one they will fight alone)) of the whole Catholic Church.

The office of the pope is also not limited to only a Latin Catholic.

No, it’s not a “clerical” position, but at the same time it is strictly and undeniably a dignity of the Western Church, by the Western Church, and for the Western Church. The title has no meaning in the East and Orient.

I don’t see that as “two sides” of anything. Using the numismatic analogy, perhaps it’s one side and the edge. As I see it, the other side is quite the reason why the Meklite Patriarchs refused the red hat. At its best, it’s meaningless in other than the West.

The fact that cardinals elect the Bishop of Rome is something that is strictly a matter of discipline: it can be changed with the stroke of a pen. IMHO, Eastern and Oriental Patriarchs should sit in conclave ex officio. The red hat is extraneous, not to mention patronizing.

I have heard that Lubomyr Cardinal Husar was considered papabile at the last conclave. Does anyone one think that an Eastern Bishop could be elected Pontiff in our lifetime?

God bless,

Another frequent poster on this forum, Aramis, once posted something in that regard so maybe he’ll pop in with info. I don’t know personally, though Hollywood made a go at it in the movie “Shoes of the Fisherman” I believe, which was roughly based on the figure of Patriarch Josyp Slipyj of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. I think if this were to ever happen it would take an incredibly dynamic personality to get through the objections. Just my 2 cents. I can’t see it.

Thanks for your response. I’m going to have to check out Shoes of the Fisherman :thumbsup:

Why do you believe that there would be objections? If you’re Catholic you’re Catholic right, whether Latin, Melkite, or Maronite.

I have just within the last year been attending a Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church and may be ignorant to some of the history, and this history may be why you believe there might by objections :shrug:

Again, thanks for your reply.

God bless,

Yes, with Anthony Quinn as the Pope in the movie. :smiley:

Umm why objections? I think originally because the Pope as Head of the Universal Church was also of course Bishop of Rome and with it Patriarch of the West. I didn’t know if an Eastern Catholic Patriarch or Cardinal could assume the last function. EDIT But then I just found this story online:

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) – The title papal title “patriarch of the West” was eliminated as “obsolete and practically unusable,” with the change may proving useful to ecumenical dialogue, according to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The Vatican press office confirmed March 1 that the 2006 edition of the Vatican’s official yearbook, which was put on sale to the public in early March as the first edition printed since Pope Benedict’s 2005 election, no longer refers to the pontiff with the title “patriarch of the West,” but offered no explanation for the change.

In the 2006 Annuario Pontificio, the pope is described as “bishop of Rome, vicar of Jesus Christ, successor of the prince of the apostles, supreme pontiff of the universal church, primate of Italy, archbishop and metropolitan of the province of Rome, sovereign of Vatican City State and servant of the servants of God.”


Hmm. As Catholics we’ll just have to see how the Holy Spirit moves in the future. :slight_smile:

God Bless. :slight_smile:


At least two bishops stated to the press that the final balloting was between His Beattitude Lubomyr Cdl. Husar and His Eminence John Cdl. Ratzinger.

If true, then it was pretty close. The question of whether His Beattitude would have accepted it is another matter, but since HB Lubomyr was present in that conclave, it is very reasonable to believe that he would have.

As for the Dignity of Cardinal being conferred on Eastern Bishops: great! They are part of the Church.

I also think every patriarch and major archbishop should automatically be elevated to Cardinal… even tho’ rome doesn’t do this. At least not yet.


I thought the ballots are done in the strictest of privacy. With vows attached.

The Conclave
The Cardinals must take an oath when they first enter the Conclave that they will follow the rules set down by the Pope and that they will maintain absolute secrecy about the voting and deliberations. The penalty for disclosing anything about the conclave that must be kept secret is automatic excommunication


Thank you:)

Only in the movies.

Not that the vows aren’t real … :o


If this is true and can be confirmed it reflects an awesome amount of insight into the issue and integrity upon the Melkite patriarchs.

I think technically the Eastern Cardinals are “honorary” Cardinals. If you watch when they are made they are only handed the bull that names the a Cardinal while the Latin ones are not only handed the bull but also given the red hat. The Eastern Cardinals dress in Eastern dress and do not wear the red hat, the only exception I think there is to this is the Maronite Cardinal.

As for their reasoning behind accepting it or not, I honor their choice in obedience.

A Cardinal is Cardinal. I don’t believe there is a difference, other than in the ranking (Cardinal-Bishop, Cardinal-Priest, Cardinal-Deacon).

As for the red hat being used, even I have never seen Mar Nasrallah depicted wearing Latin headgear. He does wear the traditional tobbiye to match the color of the mode of dress (house or choir), but that practice is, I believe, the same among the Chaldeans if not others as well. In any case, the practice goes back many hundreds of years. Well before the 1960s which was when Paul Peter Meouchi became the first Maronite Patriarch to be named Cardinal.

I seem to recall reading something about that a while back, but I cannot recall exactly where. OTOH, here is a

(http://www.melkite.org/xCouncil/CouncilIndex.htm) which gives an idea of the late Maximos V thought process on the matter.

[quote]At Session I of the Council, Maximos’ electrifying opening speech on October 23, 1962, set the tone for the Melkite onslaught on the one-sided, Latin vision of the Church. … He refused to follow protocol and address “Their Eminences,” the cardinals, before “Their Beatitudes,” the Eastern patriarchs, for in his ecclesiology patriarchs, the heads of local Churches, did not take second place to cardinals, who were but second-rank dignitaries of one such communion, the Latin Church.

There is, of course, tension between the Pope’s role as head of the Latin Rite, Primate of a Latin Country and Bishop of a Latin Patriarchal Diocese vs. head of the Catholic Church. It’s true a Cardinal is a creature of the Latin Church. It’s also true they are the electors of the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. On the one hand the Eastern Church leaders do not want to be subsumed within the much larger Latin Rite, but to not have eastern participation in the Conclave sends an unwanted message of being second class as well. I think the two competing views are the reasons both for rejecting and accepting the appointment (not to mention the Melkite eye toward rapprochement with the Orthodox).

That being said, I have wondered for some time if the solution is to create the position of Eastern Elector, or some such. While not a Cardinal, per se, they would have the rights of a Cardinal vis-a-vis elections/Conclave. Perhaps Patriarchs could, ex officio, be Eastern Electors and the Pope could name others as appropriate or desirable? Many details could be worked out. Perhaps the Eastern Electors would not be required to attend a Conclave as Cardinals are, but are invited to attend? Perhaps the Eastern Churches could amend their own electoral processes where the Pope or Latin Bishops are invited - to represent the Universality of each of the Eastern Churches, mutatis mutandis?

For some this would never be acceptable, but it strikes me as a reasonable via media that is much less susceptible to being viewed as a co-opting of the east into the west and yet acknowledging the universality of the Papal office - and the Church Universal.

Of course, no one’s elected me Pope to make such a decision!:smiley:

There was a [thread=303688]thread[/thread] a while back that touched on this same topic, and not to repeat myself, but I’ve held a similar [post=4703776]view[/post] for quite some time.

As I recall, this very idea was floated in the mid-1970s, during the waning years of Paul VI. It was, apparently, shelved by his 2nd successor in 1978 and, obviously, nothing came of it. But there’s always hope that the idea will be revived.

I saw Shoes of the Fisherman when it came out in the late 1960s. It is interesting to note that after having been vested in latin rite white cassock, the pope then reverted to eastern rite garb, with a white cassock. Fascinatin’. It’s a good flick.

Yeah, interesting flick but slightly dated now. :slight_smile: The only “mistakes” so to speak in the film was that the Pope is addressed as being from Ukraine but is called a “Russian” as opposed to “Ukrainian”. Well that was the 60s and at least Ukraine is an independent country now and not part of a Soviet Union. :smiley:

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