It begins with a highly informative introduction by Hollingsworth and Richardson, who build on their own broad expertise to describe the nature of the Cardinalate and its duties, detailing ceremonial requirements, rules of dress, and all the problems brought on by the immense burden of maintaining a splendid household.
Chambers summarizes current and past research on the Cardinalate and outlines of some of the lesser-known chapters of Paolo Cortesi's De Cardinalatu, a treatise on the life of the Cardinal (1510) that has yet to be published in a complete modern edition.
Moving into the seventeenth century, Karin Wolfe and David Marshall describe struggles for power within the Barberini and Patrizi families, who put their elder sons in charge of their households and lined up a Cardinalate for their younger "heir to spare" (or in the case of the Barbarini, for two brothers who became Cardinals and bitter rivals).
In order to develop a real Christian community -- one that thinks and acts and witnesses together -- synods, congregations, chanceries, parishes and cardinalates
(in at least two instances in history the office of cardinal has been granted to lay men) must also be opened to women.