It seems that Pope Francis revived an ancient tradition at the end of the Conclave that elected him to the Papacy.
After accepting the Petrine Ministry, the Holy Father placed his old cardinal’s zucchetto on Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri’s head. Archbishop Baldisseri is the Secretary to the College of Cardinals, and therefore, by virtue of his office, served as Secretary to the Conclave. This act means that Archbishop Baldisseri will be formally created a cardinal at the next consistory.
Until recent times, it was common for a newly elected Pope to elevate the (non-cardinal) Secretary of the Conclave to the ranks of the cardinalate upon his own election to the Papacy. He would do this by giving the Secretary his own cardinal’s zucchetto, as he himself was given the white one reserved for the Pope.
The last Pope to do this was Blessed John XXIII, who, immediately after being elected to the See of Peter in 1958, gave his old red skullcap to the then Secretary of the Conclave, Alberto di Jorio. The tradition, until last week, seemed to have come to an end with the election of Paul VI in 1963.
According to a friend, some commentators had noticed that Archbishop Baldisseri was wearing a cardinal’s zucchetto when he appeared in public during Pope Francis’s greeting from the Loggia of St Peter’s on the night of his election. The story has since been confirmed by Vatican Radio’s Portuguese language news section.
Many congratulations to Archbishop Baldisseri! It is also good to note that Pope Francis decided to revive this beautiful and ancient custom.
God bless our Pope!