Ratzinger named Dean of College of Cardinals
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been elected the new dean of the College of Cardinals, to replace the retiring Cardinal Bernardin Gantin.
With Cardinal Gantin leaving Rome to live out his retirement in his native Benin, the five cardinals who hold the rank of "cardinal bishop" gathered to elect his successor, and chose Cardinal Ratzinger, the German-born prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The dean of the College of Cardinals is responsible for convening the cardinals-- most importantly, in case of the death of a pope. He also presides at meetings of the cardinals, including papal conclaves. And if a papal election takes place, the dean has the duty to ask the elected prelate if he will accept the role, and announce his election to the public.
The dean of the College of Cardinals also serves as representative of that group at formal ceremonies. Thus, for instance, Cardinal Ratzinger will be expected to deliver the Christmas greetings of the Roman Curia to Pope John Paul II at a traditional meeting that is scheduled for 23 December.
Catholic World News
Joseph Ratzinger Is New Dean of College of Cardinals (Zenit)
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3 Dec 2002