Yesterday Pope Francis made the surprise decision not to celebrate his morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta's Chapel, but to celebrate with the group of Polish Priests who daily gather to Con-celebrate Mass at the Tomb of Blessed Pope John  Paul II.The Holy Father then proceeded to celebrate Holy Mass Ad Orientem - the Altar being against the wall of the Chapel in Saint Peter's Basilica. His willingness to celebrate Ad Orientem has given heart to many interested in the cause of liturgical reform .

And that was not the end of the news out of Rome. It was formally announced that the Holy Father intends to hold a Consistory to create new Cardinals on 22nd February, 2014 the Feast of the Chair of  Saint Peter.

It was noticeable that the announcement in the Vatican Information Service Bolletino was at pains on several occasions that the arrangements were being made " like his predecessors" and " as in previous years".

The Consistory will be preceded by a meeting of the College of Cardinals on 17th and 18th of February. The Council of Cardinals (the eight) will meet prior to that Meeting of the whole College. And the Consistory itself will be followed by a meeting of the Synod Council.

The larger Council of Cardinals(the 15) concerned with economic and organisational matters of the Holy See will meet during the preceding week.

The process outlined in these announcements should go a long way toward definitively showing the substance of Pope Francis' intentions for his Pontificate.The selection of candidates for the dignity of Cardinal will itself disclose a great deal. If precedent is followed those selected would be a number of recent appointees to Curial Office  as for example Archbishop Gerhard Muller Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Pietro Parolin - yet to take up his post as Secretary of State due to recent surgery.Others would be Archbishops of Sees that have historically had Cardinal Archbishops( and where there is no Emeritus Cardinal Archbishop surviving). But the re-organisation of the Curia might suggest a different approach. And maybe a radical re-examination might determine that some Sees no longer warrant a Red Hat as they had done in historical times. Again the Holy Father might choose to increase the number of Cardinals in the College thus expanding the possibility for new Sees to be graced with a Cardinal Archbishop.

The successive meeting of the various permutations and combinations of Cardinals could also facilitate the beginning of any desired changes to the Curia that might have been decided upon.


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