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Assistant at the Pontifical Throne
(ASSISTENS THRONO PONTIFICIO.)
Bishops-assistant at the pontifical throne are those prelates who belong to the Papal Chapel (Capella Pontifica), and hold toward the Pope much the same relation as cathedral canons do to their bishop. At solemn functions these Assistants, adorned with cope and mitre, surround the throne of the Pope, while other bishops are not privileged to be in his immediate vicinity. To this College of Assistants belong ex officio and those archbishops and bishops to whom the Pope has granted the privilege by brief. The Throne Assistants rank immediately after the Cardinals. They are privileged to celebrate Mass in private oratories and to dispose of a certain sum from their episcopal benefices in favour of clerics or their own relations, or to lay it aside for their own obsequies. These Throne-Assistants are always created Counts of the Apostolic Palace, and they belong to the Pontifical Family.
BANGEN, Die Römische Curie (Münster, 1854); HUMPHREY, Urbs et Orbis (London, 1899), 167.
William H. W. Fanning