German Cardinal Walter Kasper, President, Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Retires, June 25,

Per the 1983 Code of Canon Law Canons 354 & 401, heads of curial dicasteries and diocesan bishops must tender their resignations to the pope upon completing their seventy-fifth year of life. This resignation requirement was last talked about on June 19, 2010, when the Lativan Cardinal Janis Pujats resigned, at 79, from being the Archbishop of Riga.

It is now being reported that on June 25, 2010, German Cardinal Deacon Walter Kasper, 77, has announced his resignation as the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. He had held this post since March 3, 2001 — appointed 10 days after he was created a cardinal deacon by John Paul II (#265). What is incongruous about this resignation is that a successor has not been named! Typically these ‘past 75’ resignations are only announced when the successor is being named. Hence, as in the case of Pujats, why the cardinal may be 79 (or even older) before his resignation is accepted and announced.

Cardinal Kasper’s resignation ONLY changes the employment status statistics pertaining to the College; i.e., we now have one more retired cardinal. The average age for the electors has also ticked up one to 73 from 72.

This is the first change, of any sort, to the demographics of the College as of June 19, 2010 when Cardinal Pujats retired. Please refer to this posting for all the demographics and a list of what has changed over the last six months.

If nothing else changes prior to that, we will lose another cardinal elector on July 7, 2010.

I am just going to update the demographics of the 108 cardinal electors to reflect yesterday’s [i.e., June 25, 2010] resignation:

Of the 108 cardinals, under the age of 80 [i.e., ‘electors’]:

  • 4 are Cardinal Bishops, 1 is an Oriental Rites Patriarch, 87 are Cardinal Priests & 16 are Cardinal Deacons
  • 18 hold curial offices. Of these 2 are cardinal bishops (viz. Bertone & Re), 5 are cardinal priests and the others cardinal deacons
    (Italy – 7, Rest of Europe – 6, U.S.A. – 1, Latin America – 2 , India – 1 & Africa – 1)
  • 60 are Archbishops including two Patriarchs – i.e., Venice and Lisbon (Portugal)
  • 1 is Bishop — Mainz (Germany)
  • 1 is the Vicar General of Rome, viz. Cardinal Agostino Vallini (papabile)
  • 1 is the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of Jerusalem, viz. Cardinal John Patrick Foley
  • 26 are ‘retired,’ i.e., emeritus status
  • 1, viz. Cardinal Bernard Francis Law (formally of Boston, USA), is an Archpriest
  • Average age is 73 years; 12 in their 79th year, youngest being Peter Erdö (Hungary) at 57 (soon 58)
  • 19 belong to religious orders, 4 of whom are Salesians, 3 Franciscans, 2 Jesuits along with an additional 1 belonging to Opus Dei
  • 78 (72.2%) of these cardinals were created by Pope John Paul II between 1983 and 2003
  • 30 were created by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 & 2007
  • The macro geographic breakdown is as follows:
    Africa 9, Americas 33 (U.S.A. 12), Asia 10, Europe 55 (Italy 19), Oceania 1
    Africa 8 countries, Americas 14, Asia 7, Europe 21, Oceania 1 — 51 countries in total
    Italy 19, U.S.A 12, France 6, Spain 5, Germany 5, Brazil 4, Mexico 4, Poland 3, India 3 & Canada 2

Hope this helps. Cheers.

Anura Guruge