Why did Pope Francis raise the minimum age for being granted 'Monsignor' from 35 to 65 years?
1.) Why did Pope Francis raise that minimum age from 35 to 65 years?
2.) Did Pope Francis revoke that title to priests who have been granted before that new rule and who are, at that date, less than 65 years old?
For the first question, Pope Francis raised the minimum age from 35 to 65 in order to avoid careerism and personal ambition, but this does not affect members of the Holy See's diplomatic service.
As for the second part of this question: Monsignori keep their titles, if they already have them. Thus the new rule is not retroactive.
Pope Francis has decided to limit the honor of "monsignor" among diocesan priests and grant it from now on only to those at least 65 years of age.
The change, which is not retroactive and does not affect Vatican officials or members of religious orders, was announced in a letter from the Vatican Secretariat of State to nunciatures around the world, along with instructions to inform local bishops.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, informed U.S. bishops of the new policy in a letter dated Dec. 30. Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, forwarded the letter to the bishops Jan. 3.
Of the three grades of monsignor -- apostolic protonotary, honorary prelate of His Holiness and chaplain of His Holiness -- only the last will be available to diocesan priests who meet the new age requirement.
On December 14, 2013, Pope Francis suspended the granting of the honorific title of Monsignor except to members of the Holy See's diplomatic service.
The subject of bestowing honorifics came up at the October 2013 meeting of the Council of Cardinal Advisers. Pope Francis had indicated a desire to scale back such practices as part of a broader effort to project a more modest and pastoral vision of leadership. In December of the same year he communicated his definitive decision to accept no further requests from bishops for appointments to any class but that of Chaplain of His Holiness, the lowest of the three classes, and that candidates presented must be at least 65 years old. He himself, during his 15 years as archbishop of Buenos Aires, never asked that any of his priests receive the title, and he was understood to associate it with clerical "careerism". Grants already made were not revoked.
Appointments to all three classes of awards continue to be granted to officials of the Roman Curia and the diplomatic service of the Holy See, and there was no revocation of privileges granted to certain bodies such as chapters of canons whereby all their members or some of them have the rank of Protonotary Apostolic, Honorary Prelate or Chaplain of His Holiness.
Also unaffected is the association of the style with the office of vicar general, an appointment made by the bishop of the diocese, not by the Pope. Without necessarily being a protonotary apostolic, a diocesan priest has that titular rank as long as he remains in office. Monsignor
Generic coat of arms of a protonotary apostolic: amaranth galero with 12 scarlet tassels.
Generic coat of arms of an honorary prelate: amaranth galero with 12 violet tassels.
Generic coat of arms of a Chaplain of His Holiness: black galero with 12 violet tassels.
Once again let me state that of the three grades of monsignori: apostolic protonotary, honorary prelate of His Holiness and chaplain of His Holiness -- only the last will be available to diocesan priests who meet the new age requirement. The new rules do not apply to the first two categories of monsignori.