Pope John created seven new cardinals at a secret consistory in the Vatican, Rome, March 28.
Pope John created seven new cardinals at a secret consistory in the Vatican, Rome, March 28. Afterwards, the Pope's messengers left to hand official letters of notification to the newly-created cardinals, who were present in Rome and whose appointments were first announced March 3.
Outstanding feature of the occasion was the Pope's creation secretly, or "in pectore", of three other new cardinals. The device of creating cardinals "in pectore" was last used - for diplomatic reasons - nearly 30 years ago.
A successor to Yugoslavia's recently deceased Cardinal Stepinac, and church dignitaries from two other Communist-dominated countries - one a Pole, and the other, Msgr. Josef Beran, Archbishop of Prague - who is now confined by the Czech authorities - are regarded as likely possibilities for the "in pectore" appointments.
The other seven creations bring the Sacred College its first African, Filipino and Japanese Cardinals, and raise its membership to the record number of 85, not including the three cardinals yet to be named.