Preconization (i.e. publication, from praeco, "a herald"). The appointments to all higher offices of the Church, especially episcopal and archiepiscopal sees, whether they be made by canonical election or by nomination, are subject as causae majores to the papal confirmation. This confirmation, according to the resolutions of the Council of Trent, and the closer directions given by pope Gregory XIV in 1591, is preceded by a double examination, called informative process and definitive process. The latter is gone through with at Rome by the congregation of cardinals established by Sixtus V pro erectione ecclesiarum et provisionibus apostolicis; the cardinal protector of the nation in which the appointment is to be made acts as referent, and is assisted by three other cardinals. The opinion, written by the protector, and signed by the three assessors, is brought immediately before the "S. Congregatio Consistorialis," where it is prepared for the consistory in which the confirmation is to take place. In one of the ensuing secret consistories the cardinal referent repeats his complete account of the matter, whereupon all the cardinals present give their vote as to the worthiness of the elected or nominated bishop. If the majority pronounces in his favor, the pope passes, in the same assembly, his solemn confirmation in the customary formula. This declaration of the pope is called praeconisatio; it is posted ad valvos ecclesie, and a deed of it, "the bull of preconization," or confirmation, is sent to the confirmed nominee. In France, where the promotion of an ecclesiastic to a bishopric is by nomination of the king, the person nominated, after receiving his warrant from the crown, is furnished with three letters — one from the king to the pope, another to the cardinal protector of France at home, and the third to his majesty's ambassador at the pope's court. When this is done, a certificate of the life and behavior of the person nominated is given in to the pope's nuncio. He likewise makes profession of his faith, and gives in a schedule of the condition of the bishopric to which he is nominated. The letters being transmitted to Rome, the cardinal protector declares in the first consistory that at the next consistorial meeting he intends to propose such a person for such a see, which declaration is called preconization. SEE BISHOP. (J. H. W.)

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