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Another item to add to your pleonasm watchlist | COMMENTARY

Today I see in an Associated Press article about the elevation of thirteen cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church the helpful information that a pope is elected by cardinals in a “secret conclave.”

A conclave is by definition a secret or closed meeting. The Latin original is conclave, “lockable room,” from com, “with,” and clavis, “key.”

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The article also informs us that the ceremony in which cardinals are made is the “concistory,” which I am moderately sure is an error for “consistory,” from the Latin “consistorium,” “place of assembly.”

And, to round things out, there is the mention that “Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory” heads “the prestigious diocese in the U.S. capital.” “Prestigious” is here, as it almost always is, a wasted word, most readers of AP copy should be aware that Washington, D.C., is the nation’s capital, and Washington is properly an archdiocese.

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