New Senior Cardinal Deacon Named

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2005 ( John Paul II has confirmed Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez as new senior cardinal deacon, whose duties would include announcing to the world the name of a newly elected pope.

The Pope confirmed this decision Thursday in a letter sent to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state.

In his new post, Cardinal Medina Estévez, 78, succeeds Cardinal Luigi Poggi, 87.

The College of Cardinals is structured in three orders: the episcopal, presbyterial and diaconal. The Pope assigns cardinals to the different orders.

Cardinals from various dioceses worldwide are assigned to the presbyterial order and receive a title or church of the city of Rome.

Those appointed in the Roman Curia are assigned to the diaconal order.

Cardinals of the episcopal order are assigned to one of the suburbicarian dioceses of Rome.

When the Petrine chair becomes vacant, cardinals who have not celebrated their 80th birthday — including on the day the chair becomes empty — meet in conclave to elect a new pope. (See the apostolic constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis.”)

Cardinal Medina Estévez is the retired prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

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