Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
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of the Catholic Church
The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church is an office of the papal household that administers the property and revenues of the Holy See. Formerly, his responsibilities included the fiscal administration of the Patrimony of St. Peter. As regulated in the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (1988), the camerlengo is always a cardinal, though this was not the case prior to the 15th century. His heraldic arms are ornamented with two keys – one gold, one silver – in saltire surmounted by an ombrellino, a canopy or umbrella of alternating red and yellow stripes. These are also the arms of the Holy See during a papal interregnum.
Until the 11th century, the Archdeacon of the Roman Church was responsible for the administration of the property of the Church (i.e., the Diocese of Rome), but its numerous ancient privileges and rights had come to make it a frequent hindrance to independent action on the part of the Pope; as a result, when the last Archdeacon Hildebrand was elected to the papacy as Gregory VII in 1073, he suppressed the Archdiaconate and the prelate entrusted with the supervision of the Apostolic Camera (Camera Apostolica), i.e., the possessions of the Holy See, became known as the Camerarius ("Chamberlain").
Prior to the 18th century, the Camerlengo enjoyed an income of 10,000 to 12,000 scudi a year out of the Apostolic Camera. He had jurisdiction over all suits involving the Apostolic Camera, and could judge separately or in association with the Clerics of the Apostolic Camera; he was not impeded by Consistory. He has appellate jurisdiction over suits decided by the Masters of the Roads; in a narration of the 18th century, the Camerlengo is the chief officer in the Apostolic Camera, the Financial Council of the Pope. In his office are the Governor of Rome (who is Vice-Chancellor), The Treasurer, the Auditor, the President, the Advocate General, the Fiscal Procurator, the Commissary, and twelve Clerks of the Chamber (one with the special title of Prefect of the Grain Supply, another Prefect of Provisions, another Prefect of Prisons, and another Prefect of Roads), each Clerk of the Chamber received around 8,000 scudi a year, representing 10% of the business that passes through his office.
The powers and functions of the Camerlengo were diminished considerably in the 19th century, first by the reorganisation of the papal government after the election of Pope Pius VII in 1800, then by the reorganization of the papal government after the return of Pope Pius IX from exile in 1850, and then by the loss of the Papal States in 1860 and the City of Rome in 1870. The chief beneficiary of these changes was the Cardinal Secretary of State; in the 20th century, the offices of Secretary of State and Camerlengo were held concurrently by Pietro Gasparri (from 1916–1930), Eugenio Pacelli (from 1935–1939), Jean-Marie Villot (from 1970–1979), and by Tarcisio Bertone (from 2007 until 2013).
The office of Camerlengo has been vacant since the death of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran on 5 July 2018.
The camerlengo is responsible for the formal determination of the death of the reigning pope; the traditional procedure – abandoned centuries ago – was to call his baptismal name (e.g. "Albine, dormisne?", meaning "[name], are you sleeping?").[a] After the pope is declared dead, the camerlengo takes possession of the Ring of the Fisherman and cuts it with shears in the presence of the cardinals, this act symbolizes the end of the late Pope's authority and prevents its use in forging documents. The camerlengo then notifies the appropriate officers of the Roman Curia and the dean of the College of Cardinals. He participates in the preparations for the conclave and the pope's funeral.
In the past the camerlengo took possession of the pope's last will and took responsiblility for revealing its contents. Now the last will of the pope is given to the College of Cardinals and its content is revealed during the first meeting of the College of Cardinals, the only responsibility still in the camerlengo's hands is to safekeep the last will of the pope until the College of Cardinals takes possession of it.
Until a successor Pope can be elected, the camerlengo serves as Vatican City's acting sovereign, he is no longer, however, responsible for the government of the Catholic Church when the papacy is vacant; that task was placed in the hands of the College of Cardinals by Universi Dominici gregis (1996). His power is extremely limited, being merely enough to allow Church institutions to continue to operate and perform some basic functions without making any definitive decisions or appointments that are normally reserved to other powers delegated by the pope. Unlike the rest of the Roman Curia, the camerlengo retains his office during the sede vacante period and functions as the executive director of the Vatican's operations, answerable to the College of Cardinals, this is primarily to carry out the College's decisions with regard to the funeral of the late pope and the events leading up to the conclave. The only other people who keep their offices during this time are the Major Penitentiary, the Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, the Papal Almoner, and the Vicars General for Rome and for the Vatican City State.
List of Camerlengos
- Jordan of S. Susanna (documented 1147–1151)
- Franchus (1151)
- Rainierus (documented 1151)
- Yngo (documented 1154)
- Boso Breakspeare (1154/55 – 1159)
- Bernard the Templar (documented 1163)
- Teodino de Arrone (documented 1163)
- Franco Gaufridus Fulchier (documented 1175–1181)
- Gerardo Allucingoli (ca.1182/84)
- Melior le Maitre (documented 1184–1187)
- Cencio Savelli (1188–1198), later Pope Honorius III
- Riccardo (documented 1198)
- Ottaviano Conti di Segni (1200–1206)
- Stefano di Ceccano (1206–1216)
- Pandolfo Verraclo (1216–1222)
- Sinibaldo (ca.1222 – ca.1227)
- Rinaldo Conti di Segni (1227–1231), later Pope Alexander IV
- (1231–1236 – no information found)
- Giovanni da Ferentino (1236–1238)
- (1238–1243 – no information found)
- Martino (ca. 1243 – ca. 1251)
- Boetius (1251–1254)
- Niccolo da Anagni (1254–1261)
- Pierre de Roncevault (1261–1262)
- Pierre de Charny (1262–1268)
- Odo of Châteauroux (occupied the post in 1270)
- Pietro de Montebruno (occupied the post in 1272)
- Guglielmo di San Lorenzo (occupied the post in 1274)
- Raynaldus Marci (occupied the post in 1277)
- Angelo de Vezzosi (occupied the post in 1278)
- Berardo di Camerino (1279–1288)
- Niccolo (occupied the post in 1289)
- Tommaso d'Ocra (1294)
- Teodorico Ranieri (ca. 1295 – 1299)
- Giovanni (1301–1305)
- Arnaud Frangier de Chanteloup (1305–1307)
- Bertrand des Bordes (1307–1311)
- Arnaud d'Aux (1311–1319)
- Gasbert de Valle (1319–1347)
- Stefano Aldebrandi Cambaruti (1347–1360)
- Arnaud Aubert (1361–1371)
- Pierre du Cros (1371–1383)
- Marino Giudice (documented 1380–1382)
- Marino Bulcani (documented 1386–1394)
- Corrado Caraccioli (documented 1396–1405)
- Leonardo de Sulmona (named in 1405)
- Antonio Correr (1406–1415)
- François de Conzie (1415[b]–1431)
- Francesco Condulmer (1432–1440)
- Ludovico Trevisan (1440–1465)
- Latino Orsini (1471–1477)
- Guillaume d'Estouteville (1477–1483)
- Raffaele Riario (1483–1521)
- Innocenzo Cibo (1521)
- Francesco Armellini Pantalassi de' Medici (1521–1527)
- Agostino Spinola (1528–1537)
- Guido Ascanio Sforza di Santa Fiora (1537–1564)
- Vitellozzo Vitelli (1564–1568)
- Michele Bonelli (1568–1570)
- Luigi Cornaro (1570–1584)
- Filippo Guastavillani (1584–1587)
- Enrico Caetani (1587–1599)
- Pietro Aldobrandini (1599–1621)
- Ludovico Ludovisi (1621–1623)
- Ippolito Aldobrandini (1623–1638)
- Antonio Barberini (1638–1671)
- Paluzzo Paluzzi Altieri degli Albertoni (1671–1698)
- Galeazzo Marescotti, pro-camerlengo (1698)
- Giovanni Battista Spinola (1698–1719)
- Annibale Albani (1719–1747)
- Silvio Valenti Gonzaga (1747–1756)
- Girolamo Colonna di Sciarra (1756–1763)
- Carlo Rezzonico (1763–1799)
- Romoaldo Braschi-Onesti (1800–1801)
- Giuseppe Maria Doria Pamphili, pro-camerlengo (1801–1814)
- Bartolomeo Pacca (1814–1824)
- Pietro Francesco Galeffi (1824–1837)
- Giacomo Giustiniani (1837–1843)
- Tommaso Riario Sforza (1843–1857)
- Lodovico Altieri (1857–1867)
- Filippo de Angelis (1867–1877)
- Gioacchino Pecci (1877–1878), later Pope Leo XIII
- Camillo di Pietro (1878–1884)
- Domenico Consolini (1884)
- Luigi Oreglia di Santo Stefano (1885–1913)
- Francesco Salesio Della Volpe (1914–1916)
- Pietro Gasparri (1916–1934)
- Eugenio Pacelli (1935–1939), later Pope Pius XII
- Lorenzo Lauri (1939–1941)
- Benedetto Aloisi Masella (1958–1970)
- Jean-Marie Villot (1970–1979)
- Paolo Bertoli (1979–1985)
- Sebastiano Baggio (1985–1993)
- Eduardo Martínez Somalo (1993–2007)
- Tarcisio Bertone (2007–2014)
- Jean-Louis Tauran (2014–2018)
Two Camerlengos have been elected Pope: Gioacchino Pecci (Pope Leo XIII) in 1878 and Eugenio Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) in 1939. Two others, Cencio Savelli (elected Pope Honorius III in 1216) and Rinaldo Conti di Segni (elected Pope Alexander IV in 1254) were not Camerlengo at the time of their election to the papacy, Cencio having served from 1188 until 1198 and Rinaldo from 1227 until 1231.[c]
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In popular culture
- According to Hartwell de la Garde Grissell, Chamberlain of Honor di numero to Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, and Pope Pius X, who was present at the ceremony of recognition in 1903: "It may also be here mentioned that no such ceremony as striking the dead Pope's forehead with a silver hammer takes place, and that the exact method of calling aloud his name is not tied down to any determinate form, but is left to the discretion of the Cardinal Camerlengo.... In an original [manuscript] diary in my possession written by Domenico Cappelli of Ascoli, who was Master of Ceremonies to five Popes—Alexander VII., Clement IX., Clement X., Innocent XI., and Alexander VIII.—he states that the custom of calling aloud three times the words 'Pater Sancte' was discontinued on the death of Clement X. in 1676.
- 1383–1415 camerlengo of the obediences of Avignon and Pisa in the Great Western Schism.
- It is sometimes claimed that Cosimo Gentile Migliorati (Pope Innocent VII from 1404 until 1406) was also Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. but no document mentioning him in this capacity has been found.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (February 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Pastor Bonus
- Miranda, Salvador. "The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, Reverend Apostolic Chamber". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Florida International University. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
The camerlengo was often a cardinal, but it became a cardinalitial office only from the XV century.
- Girolamo Lunadoro Gregorio Leti, Relatione della Corte di Roma, e de' Riti che si osservano in esta, suoi Magistrati, Officii, e loro giurisdittione (Genoa: Il Calenzani 1656), pp. 39, 318–320.
- Jean Aymon, Tableau de la cour de Rome seconde edition (La Haye: Jean Neaulme, 1726), Chapitre IX–XIV, pp. 256–265.
- The Camerlengo. Notes by Prof. J. P. Adams
- Hartwell de la Garde Grissell, Sede Vacante, being a Diary written during the Conclave of 1903, with additional Notes on the Accession and Coronation of Pius X (Oxford and London: James Parker and Co. 1903), page 2.
- Benigni, U. (1913). "Camerlengo". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- S. Miranda, Apostolic Chamber
- The New Cambridge Medieval History, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 423 note 347
- Moroni, Gaetano. Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni. 99. pp. 127–128.
- MIGLIORATI, Cosmato Gentile de', accessed 11 April 2015
- H. Kochendörfer, "Päpstliche Kurialen während des grossen Schismas" in Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für Ältere Deutsche Geschichtskunde, Volume 30 (1905), pp. 598–599, esp. 599
- Frances Andrews, Brenda Bolton, Christoph Egger, Constance M. Rousseau, Pope, Church And City: Essays In Honour Of Brenda M. Bolton, BRILL, 2004.
- Konrad Eubel: Hierarchia Catholica, vol. I–VI, Münster 1913–1960.