The Cardinal of San Gregorio. [Cardinal Manning] The Times, Tuesday, April 6, 1875

This is from The Times; it’s good to see Uncle Henry has settled down in Rome, and quite a major change from being a parish priest in Orrell, near Wigan to participating in a Cardinal’s installation in less than eighteen months.

San Gregorio al Celio, Rome

The Times, Tuesday, April 6, 1875


(from an occasional correspondent)

ROME March 31.

Yesterday Cardinals Manning, Dechamps, Giannelli, and Bartolini were – as Cardinals Mc’Closkey and. Ledochowski are still – only nominally Princes of the Church; today their creation has been completed. The Pope has closed their mouths; they have assisted at a meeting of the Sacred Council, at which having no deliberative voice they were mute spectators; their months, have been opened, and they have taken part in further proceedings of the Council at which they have given their votes with the rest; and, in token of the mystic marriage between the Cardinals and the Churches which form their ” titles” – typical of that between the Saviour and the Universal Church -the Pope placed the sapphire rings upon their fingers, and in future should Cardinal Manning adhere to an ancient custom he will call the Church of St. Gregory  ” Sponsa mea.”

At half-past 10 His Holiness, accompanied by his Court, entered the hall of the Consistory, and having pronounced the customary prayer, “Adsumus, Domine Sancte Spiritus,” 24 members of the Sacred College now in Rome took their seats on each side from the throne, the four new Cardinals standing in the centre. Their hands were bare, no rings upon their fingers, and as they stood uncovered and holding the little red scull caps, the zucchetti, in their hands, the Pope performed the ceremony of closing their mouths, pronouncing the words, ” Clauidimus vobis os, ut nec in Consistoriis neque in Congregationibus aliisque functionibus sententiam vestram dicere valeatis.” The Papal Master of the Ceremonies, the Chamberlains of Honour, and others present then left the Hall, the new Cardinals, covering their heads with the zucchetti, took their seats upon the stools assigned to them, and the Pope remaining alone with the members of the Sacred College, proceeded to the preconization of four Bishops to fill the Sees of Anagni, and of Patara, Samaria and Ptolemais in partibus. As the Pope named each Bishop, he asked the opinions of the Cardinals, saying ” Quid vobis videtur ” to which all replied in the affirmative, with the exception of the new Cardinals, who, having no voice, remained silent. Then His Holiness pulling the rope which hangs by the side of the throne rang the bell, and the Masters of the Ceremonies having re-entered, and closing the door behind them, the four new Cardinals stood again bare headed before the throne, while the Pope performed the ceremony of opening their mouths, repeating the formula, ” Aperimus vobis os, ut tam in Consistoriis quam in Congregationibus aliisque functionibus sententiam vestram dicere valeatis.” Monsignore Cataldi, Papal Master of the Ceremonies and Chamberlain of Honour to His Holiness, then conducted the new Cardinals one by one to the foot of the throne, where, each kneeling in turn, the Pope placed the sapphire rings upon their fingers, and with the customary formula named their “titles,” espousing the Cardinals to their respective Churches    Cardinal Manning to the Church of Saints Andrew and Gregory;  Cardinal Dechamps to the Church of Saint Bernard ad Thermas, the little round church at the Baths of Diocletian; Cardinal Giannelli to the Basilica of St. Agnes extra muros; and Cardinal Bartolini to the Church of Saint Nicholas in carcere. This done, each Cardinal first kissed the Pontiff’s foot, then his hand, and rising received the embrace from His Holiness. Tle Pope then retired to the throne room of his apartment to impose the rochet upon two of tlie new Bishops – those of Anagni and of Samaria in partibus, while the Cardinals remaining in the Hall of the Consistory held a Congregation for the confirmation of new officials of the Sacred College, thus affordinag the new Cardinals an opportunity of taking part in its proceedings. A little later His Holiness received the new Cardinals privately. In past times newly-created Cardinals appeared before the Pope on this occasion attired in all the splendour of their scarlet robes ; but this morning, in consequence of the calamitous condition of the times, they wore their black sotanas, bordered with red, red sashes, and scarlet mantles only.

At 4 o’clock his Eminence, the Cardinal of St. Gregory went to take possession of his church. In times gone by this ceremony was performed with great splendour    the Cardinal going in his state coach, drawn by black horses caparisoned with red, and three footmen hanging on behind, runners preceding it, and a train of carriages following    to-day all was done in private. The church was closed, and entrance was only to be obtained by those honoured with cards bearing the name of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, of which it was understood that only a limited number would be issued. But such was the interest    in some cases, perhaps, only curiosity – felt by the English speaking colony in Rome, by Protestants whether Churchmen or Dissenters as well as by Catholics, that the English College was well nigh besieged, and a good half hour before the ceremony commenced the Church of St. Gregory was crowded.

It was to a certain extent addobbata as for a festa and on the pilasters at each side of the apse were hung, according to custom, the great dark crimson velvet portieres of his Eminence, embroidered with gold-coloured silk, and bearing his arms, embroidered in their heraldic colours on the centre, with the motto “Malo mori quam foedari.”  At 4 a bell rang, and the procession, issuing from the Sacristy, passed down the nave to the door, where a rich carpet, with a kneeling cushion upon it, had been spread, and where the ceremony was to commence, for had it been public the Cardinal with his cortége would have come in by the great door. Standing then just within the door, as if he had entered, attired in the cappa magna the full Cardinal’s costume with long train of scarlet silk  – he was received by the community of Camaldolese Monks, who serve the Church of St. Gregory. Then kneeling upon the cushion, the Crucifix was presented to him, which, at the same time uncovering his head reverentially, he kissed, and rising took the aspersoir and, having first made the sign of the Cross with it upon his own forehead, gave the holy water per tactum to those around –  first, to the Bishops and others of his cortége: Monsignore Howard, Bishop of Neo Cesario ; Monsignore Quin, Bishop of Bathurst, in Australia; Monsignore de Senestry, Bishop of Ratisbon; and Monsignor Stonor, who were all in full prelatic costume; next to the Rev. Father Beneassai, – or, as we have the name, Goodenough, – the General, and to the Rev. Fathers Anselmi, Bassi, and Archi,  Abbots of the Camaldolese Order. Lastly, the Cardinal sprinkled the water upon the clergy and people around. This done the incense was presented to his Eminence, aud, having covered the hot coals, the Rev. Leone Clari, Prior of the Monastery of St. Gregory, took the thurible and swung it three times before the Cardinal.

When entering for the first time the door of his church, holy water is presented to the Cardinal, and clouds of incense are spread around him to symbolize that, inasmuch as before the bridegroom enters the bride-chamber he washes and is perfumed, so, the Cardinal having been espoused with the putting on of a ring to the Church of his “Title,”  holy water and incense are offered to him ;at the moment of his entering into possession.

As the choir burst forth with the antiphon ” Ecce Sacerdos Magnus,” the procession proceeded up the nave to the Chapel of the Sacrament, at the end of the left aisle, in the following order :-Students of the English College, carrying the crucifix on an embroidered cushion, the thurible, and the holy water ; the clergy, headed by the cross-bearer; the General, Abbots, and Monks of the Camaldolese Order in their full monastic habits; his Eminence the Cardinal, with the Prior of the Monastery on his left, Monsignor Cataldi Master of Ceremonies to his Holiness, on his right, and accompanied by the Very Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan rector of the English College, the Very Rev. Dr. Kirby, rector of the Irish College, the Rev. Father William Manning, rector of the Catholic Church of St. Charles’s, Bayswater, chaplain to his Eminence, and others. Having adored the Sacrament, the procession passed on to the High Altar, where, all having taken their places according to rank, the Cardinal knelt at the faldstool while the Abbot, standing on the Epistle side of the altar, chanted the versicles prescribed by the Roman Pontifical ” Super Electum Cardinalem.” ,His Eminence then ascended the throne raised upon a high dais on the left, with a background and canopy of dark crimson velvet. When he had taken his seat with a monk on a low stool at each side, who acted as assisting deacons, the Pontifical BulL with the leaden seal was first presented to him by two officers of the Apostolic Dataria, and then read by Monsignore Cataldi, in his capacity of Protonotary Apostolic. The customary official formalities having been observed, the monks, commencing with the General and ending with the youngest lay brother, went up one by one and paid homage to the Cardinal, in response to which he rose and addressed them in Italian. He told them of the deep satisfaction he felt in the “title “ assigned to him being that of St. Gregory; spoke of the ties which had, from the commencement of this Church’s history, connected it with our island; assured them that whenever, in repeating the names of the Apostles, he pronounced that of St. Andrew-to whom St. Gregory originally dedicated the church –  his thoughts would turn to them with affection ; and concluded by recommending himself to their constant prayers.

Cardinal Manning c.1884

He then turned to the crowd of visitors present and spoke, in English, as follows .-

“ It is not my purpose to speak to you at any length, or in any studied words; the occasion is not one when it would be fitting to speak at length or in any detail. I cannot forget that our meeting here to-day is one altogether without precedent; it is an occasion which may never – in all probability will never -occur again. Never has one of my race taken possession of this Church of St. Gregory on the Coelian. It is not likely that any other will, because in the case of any successor of my nation being created Cardinal the title of St. Gregory may not be vacant. There is great fitness in the act of to-day. The church of which I take possession is closely related to our history. It was from this church and hill that St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, went forth upon his mission to England. St.. Gregory, in the largeness of his heart, had conceived the purpose of bringing back our fore-fathers to Christianity. We all, therefore, spring from this place. It is the cradle of our spiritual life. In truth, there are many here, whose hearts are animated with feelings like my own, but there are others who may not be like-minded; yet I cannot think that you have come here as to a ceremony, or from any mere curiosity. If so, you will, I fear, be disappointed. All who are here present, if not of one nation, are of one speech; you are English, or, if all are not, you are of the same race and language which spreads throughout our Colonial Empire and in the great continent of Northern America. I am, indeed, invested with an office which separates me from many among you, but most of you are Christians of our English speech, and as such you also sprung from this place; you are the spiritual children of St. Gregory. If you will read the history of the Anglo- Saxon Church, written by the Venerable Bede about a hundred years after St. Augustin’s mission, you will see the outline of all the glorious work which St. Gregory accomplished in England.

Another motive has brought you here – the love of our country. The gift of piety is from the Holy Ghost; the highest object is God and His Kingdom, the second is our kindred, the third our mother country. The children of St. Patrick, of St. Aidan, and of St. Columba will think I pass them over or exaggerate the love we have for England. We are divided, indeed, in much, but in much also we are united. We are united in believing that Christianity is the Revelation of God, that the inspired Scriptures are His Word, that our baptismal creed is a summary of the Christian faith. All this you have from the great Apostle of England in common with us. It is the consciousness of this which draws your hearts to this sanctuary, which was his home. Many hearts are failing because the days are evil and the Church is assailed on every side. But when St. Gregory died, the Christian world seemed vanishing away. The East was overrun by heresies, Constantinople was on the verge of schism, Russia, Germany, and the North of Europe were not as yet in Christendom, Spain was Arian, Lombardy was Arian, England had become heathen again.

But at this day the Church was never so widespread as now; the Episcopate never so united in itself, never so united to its Head; the pastors never so united to their bishops; the people never so united to their pastors. Come what may, there is yet a feature more glorious and more fruitful than the past. We are met here to-day in a multitude gathered from many countries. Some are of my flock, whom I know as a pastor; others are not – I would to God they were;  others, again, I do not know even by name ; but we are all come here with many thoughts.  Shall we ever meet again’? Never till the last day, when the Good Shepherd shall tell His sheep upon the everlasting hills. God grant that in that great day, of all that are here, not one may be wanting in the Vision of Peace.”

The Te Deum was then sung, followed by the antiphons of St. Andrew and St. Gregory, and the Cardinal, descending from his throne to the altar first intoned the Oremus of the two Saints, and then gave the Benediction to all present. The Cardinal then went in procession to pay his devotions in the chapel of St. Gregory, and thence to the Sacristy, where he was followed by a number of the ladies and gentlemen present, desirous of offering their congratulations. Finally, the Rev. Dr. O’Bryen, in the names of a number of the Catholic visitors in Rome, presented three gold embroidered copes to his Eminence, “in token of their respectful homage and affection. “