Q. 1. What is a Papal consistory?
A. 1. The word "consistory" finds its root in the Latin language. This Latin word "con-sistere" means to "stand together." During the Roman Imperial epoch, this word was used to designate the sacred council of the emperors.
As time passed, the word came to represent the senate of the Roman pontiff, that is, "the assemblage of the Cardinals in council around the Pope."
There are 3 kinds of consistories: secret or ordinary, public or extraordinary and semi-public.
In a secret consistory, only the Pope and the Cardinals are present at its deliberations.
New Cardinals are created during a Papal consistory after the Pope has consulted the other Cardinals regarding this matter.
On February 11, 2013, Pope Benedicts XVI, in Latin, announced his resignation to the Cardinals. Such took place during an ordinary consistory that had been set aside to canonise the martyrs of Otranto.