Cardinalabili [i.e., Potential New Cardinals] List From Italy

Cardinalabili list from Italy
Cardinalabili list from Italy

I try to track papabili [potential next pope]. But there are a few who are as interested, if not more, in trying to predict ‘cardinalabili,‘ i.e., who might be next in line to be created a cardinal.

As I have pointed out we should be due for another cardinal-creating consistory within the next 12 months — though I am also the first to agree that the pope does have some other issues to also deal with.

A couple of days ago I got an e-mail from Italy with a link to this cardinalabili list in a rather ‘posh’ Italian blog titled ‘Vatican Diplomacy‘.

I have a fairly good idea as to who compiled this anonymously published list … but my thoughts are private and my lips are sealed. It is not by an American. I can tell you that much.

The list, as you can see, was published on January 22, 2010.

It has 18 names listed as ‘SECURE’ (securi) — i.e., locked in. That is tight if all are to be cardinal electors.

Yes, right now we have 12 vacancies and 7 more electors will turn 80 by the end of this year. Plus, if any were to die.

Plus, the 120 cardinal elector limit set by Paul VI (#263) in 1973 is arbitrary. It is not tied to anything specific or meant to symbolize anything. The previous limit set on the cardinals, albeit this to the whole College since there was no 80 year cut off in those days, was 70 established by Sixtus V (#228) in 1586. This 70, however, was supposed to reflect the 70 elders that shared Moses’ burdens.

Pope John XXIII (#262), in 1958, at his very first consistory, 48-days into his papacy, calmly (and with no prior edicts) overrode the Sixtus V 70 limit making the new College 74 strong. He continued to increase the size of the College — all the way up to 90.

So Benedict XVI could emulate John XXIII and increase the 120 limit.

So, have a look at this Italian list. That we have the Archbishop of Colombo from my native Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a ‘kick.’ But, thought most don’t realize (unless, of course, they read my book) is that we have already had a cardinal from Ceylon. Cardinal Thomas Benjamin Cooray who participated in both of the 1978 conclaves.

Let me know what you think. I might even be able to convey your comments to the author of this list.

Anura Guruge


5 thoughts on “Cardinalabili [i.e., Potential New Cardinals] List From Italy”

  1. Anura,

    I would quite agree with this individuals list that Archbishop’s Dolan and O’Brien, of New York and Baltimore respectively, are sure fire Cardinals in waiting. A few things struck me as odd. First that O’Brien is listed ahead of Dolan. While Baltimore may have been the first diocese in America, I don’t think there is any question that New York is now the most prestigious see in the US. However, both are certainly to become Cardinals whenever the next consistory occurs.

    I’m also surprised that Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington is not on the list. He is the head of one of the most notable American Archdiocese, perhaps the 2nd most prestigious behind New York. And he is 18 months younger than O’Brien. Any thoughts on these?


    1. Darien,
      Thank YOU for what is a very well thought out comment.
      John Stabeno, who is a kind of ‘insider’ [[ smile, smile ]], who gave me the heads up 11 days ago about Cardinal Ouellet’s possible ‘promotion,’ is a confirmed cardinal and bishop watcher. He told me the SAME as you. That he thought Wurel had a better chance than O’Brien. [Please see June 19th posting on this blog.]
      I am NOT sure whether the order within that list was meant to really signify ‘precedence,’ i.e., the order in which they would be created.
      That list also implied a consistory towards the end of 2010. I see that more and more are backing away from that. Darien, did you look at this post:
      As I had said I have a good idea as to who the author of that Italian list is. His credentials are up for debate. That he does it anonymously kind of tells us that he doesn’t have courage in his convictions. I am, in general, loath to use any lists where the author refuses to identify themselves. Anyway …
      Thank YOU. All the best. Keep in touch.

    1. Wow, Mal, what a GREAT question. Nothing naive about it. Very incisive if anything.
      As an adopted Scot, whose year is now marked not by any of the MANY New Years that I celebrate, but by the NH Highland Games in mid-Sept, I would be up there with you all if there was a Scottish/British pope. We have had one, so there is a precedent (and that one was from around (St.) Albans, and I lived 4 miles away in Harpenden, though he was a tad before my time.
      I have to THINK about this.
      He is Irish. So he has two ‘lines’ working for him. I bet he plays golf? Does he … being attached to St. Andrew’s etc.? If so, has he had other cardinals around for an early morning round around St. Andrew’s. That would get him some votes.
      Fascinating dynamics. The pope’s Sept. visit can be a factor.
      You really got me thinking. Can he rustle up enough ‘compromise’ votes — if the others ‘flare-out.’
      Let me think. Does Paddy have odds on him? I haven’t looked.
      I will pass this around. Keep tuned.
      Many thanks. You want to come over for the Highland Games?

    2. Mal,
      Did you know that, according to Wikipedia, he was fitted with a pace maker in 2008? Appears that he, though 72, has had a long history of heart trouble. After John Paul I this could be the BIGGEST stumbling block.
      ‘Father John’ totally unaware of my response to you, also said something along the lines of ‘he will only win if he had played golf with enough of the cardinals!’
      I also had comments that he was not well known, was too controversial and too ‘liberal.’
      Also from the UK … a majority Anglican nation with lots of history of sex abuse by Catholic priests. That is also thought to count against him.
      I will continue to think … and ask.
      Thank YOU. All the best.
      I turn 57 in 17 minutes per local time. Turned 57 over 10 hours ago in Ceylon. So should go to bed soon.

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