CHAPTER I. PRELATURES. continued.
All Abbots, without regard to the color of their monastic habit, are free to wear a black hat with cords and tassels of the same color, and also a black biretta and a black skull-cap. They place their black hat over their armorial shield.
Abbots General have, as a rule, the same honorary privileges as the Abbots nullius; but they have no territorial jurisdiction, their authority extending only over the monks of the Order.
The Prelates of the Roman Court.
The Pope, Cardinals, Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and Abbots are properly and canonically called "Prelates." But, besides these, there is, in the Roman Church, a class of officials invested by the Pope with the title and dignity of Prelates, who are commonly entitled "Roman Prelates," or "Prelates of the Roman Court," Romanae Curiae Antistites.
Formerly, these Prelates were simply the officers of the Papal Court, composing the household of the Sovereign Pontiff, or filling different offices in the "Congregations." Little by little, especially during the last century, the number of these Prelates was largely increased by the conferring upon priests the title and honors attached to these offices, without, however, granting these new dignitaries any part in the general administration of the Church.
These honorary dignities, bestowed upon a priest, give him the title and honors attached to them, with a determined precedence over certain other classes of ecclesiastics ; but do not affect his jurisdiction.
The papal household is composed of two classes of Prelates : the Prelates di mantelletta and the Prelates di mantellone, so called from the kind of official garment they wear. The Prelates di mantelletta are really "Prelates" their title is personal and their appointment is for life. Their Prelatnre is something permanent, and they can be dismissed only for nnworthiness or crime, after a regular trial, or motu proprio, by a positive act of the Sovereign Pontiff.
The Prelates di mantellone enjoy the title and honors of Prelates, though they are not Prelates in reality. Their Prelature is simply an office or an honor attached to an office, and it does not affect their personality. Their "Prelature" is not permanent, though they are not dismissed except for cause. However, they lose their title and their office on the Pope's death, because they are regarded as his personal officers, and his successor is not bound to keep the same attendants.
When the new Pope is elected, they may apply for a renewal of their Prelacy, and the favor is generally granted without any difficulty. But, during the vacancy of the Holy See, and until they are reinstated by the newly-elected Pope, they must faithfully abstain from wearing the costume proper to the dignity which they have lost.
The Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops Assistants at the Pontifical Throne, and the Prelates di mantelletta, essentially constitute the household of the Sovereign Pontiff, hence their general title of "Domestic Prelates."
If the Prelates di mantelletta belong to a "College," (b) they bear the title especially attributed to the members of that College; if they do not belong to a College, they are simply given the general title of Domestic Prelates.
The different Colleges of Domestic Prelates are:
The Archbishops and Bishops Assistants at the Pontifical Throne.
The Protonotaries (c) Apostolic.
The Auditors of the Rota.
The Clerks of the Rev. Apostolic Camera.
The Prelates voting and referees of the Signature.
The Abbreviators of the Major Park.
After these Prelates, come those who do not belong to a College, styled in general "Domestic Prelates."
There are four classes of Protonotaries Apostolic:
1. The Protonotaries Apostolic de numero participantium, i. e., of. the number of the participating, generally reckoned as "Protonotaries Apostolic di numero," who form a "College" of seven Prelates, acting as official Notaries to the Sovereign Pontiff.
2. The Protonotaries Apostolic Supernumerary, who obtain their title from being appointed Canons of certain Roman Basilicas.
3. The Protonotaries Apostolic ad instar participantium (or, more usually, "ad instar"), who may obtain their title either by their appointment as Canons of certain Cathedrals, the Chapter of which have been granted such privilege, or—and this is the general rule—from being raised to that dignity by the Sovereign Pontiff. The Prelates, known as "Protonotaries Apostolic" in this country, belong to this third class of Protonotaries.
4. The "Titular (or Honorary) Protonotaries Apostolic," also called "Black Protonotaries," are not members of the Pontifical Household; they enjoy the privileges of the prelatical rank only outside of the City of Rome, and, as will be said later, their prelatial dress is entirely black, without any addition of red or purple.
Such Protonotaries are nowadays very seldom directly appointed. But, since 1905, the title and honors of Titular Protonotaries Apostolic belong, pleno iure, to the Vicars General of Bishops, and to the Vicars Capitular of vacant dioceses, if these dignitaries are not Prelates otherwise.
The important privileges peculiar to the different classes of Protonotaries Apostolic have been recently modified, and are all expressed in the Constitution Inter multiplices, issued motu proprio by Pope Pius X., on February 21, 1905. Therefore, all manuals treating of the subject should be corrected according to the regulations of that document. (d)
The other Prelatial Colleges consist of Prelates who hold offices with practical functions in Roman Congregations and Tribunals and who are bound to reside in Rome.
After these, come those Prelates di mantelletta, who have been much increased numerically in these last years, who belong to no College, and who, therefore, are simply called "Domestic Prelates."
As has been said, the Prelates di mantellone are the attendants on the person of the Holy Father. They belong to two different classes, Chamberlains and Chaplains.
Those who have to fulfill real functions in the Vatican Palace are styled "participating" or "di numero" the others are honorary.
Their order of precedence is as follows:
Private Chamberlains participating.
Private Chamberlains supernumerary.
Private Chamberlains of honor in abito paonazzo. (e)
Private Chamberlains extra Urbem (outside the city).
Private Chaplains participating.
Private Chaplains of honor.
Private Chaplains extra Urbem (outside the city).
The Six Common Chaplains participating.
Common Chaplains supernumerary.
All these Prelates wear the same costume, and are given the same marks of honor. Those entitled extra Urbem, that is, "outside the City of Rome," are never allowed to make use, of their prelatical privileges in Rome. They could, however, do so in the presence of the Pope, should he happen to take up his residence outside of Rome, as was quite often done before the invasion of the Pontifical States by the House of Savoy.
All that regards the costumes of these Prelates will be found hereafter in the Chapter which treats of the Mantellone.
The classes of Prelates are so numerous that, though only a few lines have been devoted to each, this chapter has taken on unusual length. This, however, was necessary, as in the succeeding chapters, constant allusions and references will be made to these various classes of Prelates, allusions and references which would not be easily understood without the general notions just indicated.
(a) Barbier De Montault, Le costume et les usages ecclesiastiques, Tom. I., p. 375.
(b) The word "College" means a group or assembly of Prelates invested with the same title, enjoying the same honors and privileges, and performing the same functions at the Roman Court.
(c) Throughout this treatise the word Protonotary is spelled without the "h," which Is usually inserted. Protonotary is derived from protos, first, not from prothos. The Latin, Italian, French, Spanish languages retain proto in protonotary, just as In protomartyr and similar compound words. Can any good reason be given for writing prothonotary, except that some one else has done it?—P. A. Baart, Tht Roman Court, Preface.
(d) This Important document is given in full in Appendix II.
(e) "In purple habit."