Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In pectore, meaning "in the breast", is a Latin term used within Roman Catholicism to refer to the ability of a pope to name secret cardinals whose names are not revealed and whose identities are therefore known only to the pope ("in his breast") and (in accordance with doctrine) to the Almighty. It is not obligatory for the cardinal so appointed to be informed of his incardination, although such cases account for only a small fraction of such appointments.
Popes may choose to keep cardinals' identities secret out of consideration for:
- their personal safety, when they live under regimes hostile to Catholicism, Christianity, or religion in general.
- the safety of their community, when it is feared that the public naming of a cardinal may lead to discrimination or hostility against Christians in general and Catholics in particular.
In pectore cardinals are eligible to participate in papal conclaves only if they are publicly named by the Pope before his death. If he does not reveal their names, their cardinalate ceases upon the appointing pontiff's death.
Pope John Paul II named four cardinals in pectore, of whom all but one were subsequently revealed:
- Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei, Bishop of Shanghai, People's Republic of China - made cardinal 1979, revealed 1991, died 2000.
- Marian Cardinal Jaworski, Archbishop of Lviv, Ukraine - made cardinal 1998, revealed 2001.
- Jānis Cardinal Pujāts of Riga, Latvia - made cardinal 1998, revealed 2001.
- The fourth cardinal was created in 2003. John Paul II did not reveal this cardinal's identity prior to his death, or in the 15-page testament he wrote during his papacy and which was released after his death. Consequently, this cardinalate has expired.
- Disclosure of "mystery cardinal" awaited (Associated Press, 5 April 2005)
- John Paul II's testament fails to reveal secret cardinal, Vatican says (MSNBC, 6 April 2005)
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