Ever since Pope Francis has convoked consistories, the Pope emeritus has been taken into consideration and had some role in them.
Benedict XVI took part in Pope Francis' first two consistories for the creation of new cardinals, held Feb. 22, 2013 and Feb. 14, 2014.
Though the Pope emeritus did not take part in the third of Pope Francis' consistories, held Nov. 19, 2016, the newly created cardinals paid a visit to him in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery where he lives.
This time the new cardinals were accompanied by Pope Francis as they paid a visit to Benedict XVI.
The lack of a pre-consistory meeting for a general discussion
According to the Code of Canon Law, there are two types of consistories: ordinary and extraordinary.
All cardinals are called to take part in extraordinary consistories, which are celebrated only in particular cases. In contrast, ordinary consistories are summoned when the Pope needs the cardinals' counsel on some issue, or to add solemnity to a decision by the Pope, for example the canonization of saints or the creation of new cardinals.
Sometimes both types of consistories take place consecutively. The first two ordinary consistories convoked by Pope Francis were preceded by extraordinary consistories, as the Pope took advantage of the cardinals' presence in Rome to discuss important issues.
The Feb. 22, 2014 consistory was preceded by an extraordinary consistory on the issues of the family, while the Feb. 14, 2015 consistory was preceded by an extraordinary consistory to discuss the reform of the Curia.
In contrast, neither this week's consistory nor the one that took place on Nov. 19, 2016 were preceded by pre-consistory meetings.
Andrea Gagliarducci is an Italian journalist for Catholic News Agency and Vatican analyst for ACI Stampa. He is a contributor to the National Catholic Register.