ConsistoryA consistory is the occasion upon which the Pope makes someone a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.
The identities of the cardinals-to-be are generally announced some time in advance, but only at the time of the consistory does the elevation to the cardinalate take effect. Some men have died before the consistory date, and if a Pope dies before the consistory all the nominations are voided. However, the cardinal himself does not have to attend the consistory for his elevation to be effective.
Consistories are held in Rome and those new cardinals present are presented with their rings, zuccheti (small skullcaps), and biretti (four-cornered silk hats) by the Pope. Formerly they also received an elaborate broad-brimmed tasseled hat, the galerum rubrum, at the ceremony, but Pope Paul VI abolished this in 1967 and those cardinals who want these obtain them privately from a maker in Rome.
The zucchetto, the biretta, and the galerum rubrum are all red, the distinctive color of cardinals' vestments. When a diocesan cardinal dies, his galerum rubrum is suspended from the ceiling of his cathedral.
At the consistory cardinals are generally assigned titular churches in the diocese of Rome, though Paul VI abolished their functional involvement in the governance of these churches; the cardinals formally "take possession" of these churches at a later date. A small amount of formal business is transacted at the consistory, the cardinals nominally advising the Pope but always assenting to everything.