Classes of Monsignori
Pope Paul VI's motu proprio Pontificalis Domus of 28 March 1968 simplified the classification of monsignori or lesser prelates. Previously they were divided into at least 14 different grades, including domestic prelates, four kinds of protonotaries apostolic, four kinds of papal chamberlains, and at least five types of papal chaplains.
Since 1968, Apostolic Protonotaries are classified either de numero or supernumerary. Most of the former classes of Chamberlains and Chaplains have been abolished, leaving only a single class of "Chaplains of His Holiness", a specifically priestly-sounding category.
As a result monsignori are now classed into the following three ranks, in descending order of precedence:
- Apostolic Protonotary, of which two types are retained:
- de numero (the highest and least common form, customarily only seven)
- supernumerary (the highest grade of monsignor found outside Rome)
- Honorary Prelate of His Holiness (formerly "Domestic Prelate")
- Chaplain of His Holiness (formerly "Supernumerary Privy Chamberlain")
For the history of each of these classes of monsignori, see the article on each.
Before 1968, the appointment of a Privy Chamberlain expired at the death of the Pope who granted it. This no longer holds. Those listed in the index of the Annuario Pontificio as Chaplains of His Holiness continue to be listed in the edition that follow the death of the Pope, as after the deaths of Popes Paul VI and John Paul I in 1978 and after that of Pope John Paul II in 2005.
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