Italian Cardinal Priest Severino Poletto Retires But Is Still An Elector. College of Cardinals as of Oct. 11, 2010 is still at 179, 103 Electors & 76 Non-Electors

by: Anura Guruge

Where possible these updates done per Rome time
[i.e., 6 hours ahead of US East Coast time]

Click here for a 6 page Adobe Acrobat PDF
[< 200KB] of the latest College of Cardinals Statistics — In Detail


Italian Cardinal Severino Poletto retires from Turin.
Italian Cardinal Severino Poletto retires from Turin.

On October 11, 2010, Benedict XVI (#266) accepted the resignations of Italian Cardinal Priest Severino Poletto, 77 [dob Mar. 18. 1933] , as the Archbishop of Turin, a post he held since June 1999, per per the 75 year retirement age requirement in Canons 354 & 401 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. He had been created a cardinal in Feb. 2001. He continues to be an elector.

Just four days earlier, on October 7, 2010, Brazilian Cardinal Priest Cláudio Hummes, O.F. M. [Friars Minor] and German Cardinal Deacon Paul Josef Cordes retired.

Five days prior to that, on October 2, 2010, Guatemalan Cardinal Priest Rodolfo Quezada Toruño , 78, retired as the Archbishop of Guatemala City. So we have had four retirements already in October. There is now a total of 99 retired cardinals — 29 still young enough to be electors. But, this also means that nearly 30% of the electorate is no longer in active service.

Something has to be done when it comes to the 75 year retirement age and the 80 year no-longer-an-elector rule. The size and RELEVANCE of the College of Cardinals is spiraling out of control. At a minimum, at least reconcile the two, so that 80 becomes the one cut-off norm for cardinals, rather than having this crazy, two-tier system.

The last change to the College per se was on September 26, 2010 when Italian Cardinal Priest Michele Giordano turned 80, thus ceasing to be a cardinal elector.

Between May 4 and now we have had 10 cardinals retire from their posts per the ’75’ year cut-off required per Canons 354 & 401 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. [See below]


But, as of September 26, 2010, only 103 are cardinal electors with 76 no longer able to participate in a conclave. [The electors represent 58% of cardinals.]

This retirement does not change these numbers.

The College, as of May 4, 2010, has been at 179.


We have also lost a total of 4 cardinals, through demise, since the beginning of 2010.We lost three electors during the month of March 2010, and nine since the beginning of 2010.

This is the smallest the College has been in awhile. The last time we were at these levels was in February 2001 when the college was down to 178 cardinals, albeit with 128 electors.

After the last consistory on November 24, 2007, there were 201 cardinals, with 120 eligible to vote. I had thought that we were due for another consistory last year. That did not happen. This is not a problem. There is nothing wrong with having but 106 electors. Only 111 electors participated in both of the 1978 conclaves. There is now renewed chatter that there will be a cardinal-creating consistory in November 2010.

There is CONSISTORY CENTRAL set up at popes-and-papacy.com. Click << here >>.

Summary of Major Changes in the Last 12 Months

October 11, 2010: Italian Cardinal Priest Severino Poletto retires. But still an elector. ** The College continues at 179; electors= 103 (no change) **

October 7, 2010: Brazilian Cardinal Priest Cláudio Hummes, O.F. M. and German Cardinal Deacon Paul Josef Cordes retire. But are still electors. ** The College continues at 179; electors= 103 (no change) **

October 2, 2010: Guatemalan Cardinal Priset Rodolfo Quezada Toruño retires but is still an elector. ** The College continues at 179; electors= 103 (no change) **

September 26, 2010: Italian Cardinal Priest Michele Giordano turned 80, thus ceasing to be a cardinal elector. ** The College continues at 179; electors= 103 **

September 18, 2010: Syrian, Oriental Rites Cardinal Bishop Ignace Moussa I Daoud turned 80, thus ceasing to be a cardinal elector. ** The College continues at 179; electors= 104 **

September 6, 2010: Italian Cardinal Priest Salvatore De Giorgi turned 80, thus ceasing to be a cardinal elector. ** The College continues at 179; electors= 105 **

August 30, 2010: French Cardinal Priest Paul Poupard turned 80 and ceased to be a cardinal elector. ** The College is still at 179; electors= 106 **

July 8, 2010: Colombian Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz retires as Archbishop of Bogotá. ** The College is still at = 179; electors = 107 **

July 7, 2010: U.S. Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, on turning 80, ceased to be an elector. ** The College is still at = 179; electors = 107 **

July 1, 2010: German Cardinal Walter Kasper, retires as the President, Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. ** The College is still at = 179; electors = 108 **

June 30, 2010: Italian Cardinal Bishop Giovanni Battista Re, retires as the Prefect, Congregation for Bishops and is replaced by Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, my #3 papabili from 2009. ** The College is still at = 179; electors = 108 **

June 28, 2010: Indonesian Cardinal Jiulius Riyadi Darmaatmadja, retires as the Archbishop of Jakarta. ** The College is still at = 179; electors = 108 **

June 19, 2010: Latvian Cardinal Janis Pujats, retires as the Archbishop of Riga. ** The College is still at = 179; electors = 108 **

May 4, 2010: Italian Cardinal Luigi Poggi , at one time the archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, died at the age of 92. ** The College now = 179; electors = 108 **

April 30, 2010: German Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer, a Benedictine, died at the age of 98, twenty three days prior to turning 99. ** The College then = 180 **

April 16, 2010: Czechoslovakian Cardinal Tomáš Špidlík, a Jesuit, died at the age of 90. ** The College then = 181 **

March 31, 2010: Spanish Cardinal Julián Herranz Casado, Opus Dei, on turning 80 ceased to be an elector. We then had 108 electors. Julián Herranz Casado (b. March 31, 1930) of Spain, the retired President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of the Legislative Texts and President of the Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia turned 80 and thus ceased to be an elector. Spain has 10 cardinals, but only half of them are now eligible to vote. That still gives them a slight edge in terms of real representation. With 5 out of the 108 electors, Spain would a 4.6% representation if there were to be a conclave anytime soon. However, in terms of the world population of Catholics, Spain only has about 3.9%. So they can’t really complain, even though they probably will. Brazil with 3 times more Catholics has one less elector. Mexico with nearly twice more also only has 4 electors. The electors within the College does not reflect the population distribution of the Catholics. The U.S. and Europe gets preferential representation. This needs to be fixed at some point. <<q.v. Pages 7 to 11 of ‘The Next Pope’ book (for free, of course) at Google Books.>> ** College then = 182 **

March 20, 2010: NZ Cardinal Thomas Stafford on turning 80 ceased to be an elector. We then had 109 electors. NZ no longer has a vote if there was to be a conclave. ‘Oceania,’ [i.e., the Pacific basin] now only has one elector, viz. Australian Cardinal George Pell (b. 1941) who was created a cardinal in 2005. It is just like the ‘old days.’ The October 1958 conclave that elected John XXIII (#262) was the first conclave attended by a cardinal from Oceania, Australia’s Norman Thomas Gilroy. <<q.v. Pages 116 & 261 of ‘The Next Pope’ (for free, of course) at Google Books.>> ** College then = 182 **

March 18, 2010: US Cardinal Adam Joseph Maida on turning 80 ceased to be an elector. We then had 110 electors. ** College then = 182 **

February 13, 2010: Cardinal Miloslav Vlk retired from being an Archbishop — but is still a bona fide elector. His resignation is per Code of Canon Law 401 § 1 requiring that diocesan bishops tender their resignation to the pope when they have completed their 75th year. ** College then = 182 **

January 27, 2010: Cardinal Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic on turning 80 became a non-elector. Canada has a total of 3 cardinals, two of whom are still electors; one of them, Cardinal Marc Ouellet a credible papabile. ** College then = 182 **

January 18, 2010: 76 year old Belgium Cardinal Godfried Danneels retired from being the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels. This did not alter the elector/non-elector numbers or the size of the College. Just changes the statistics as to the ‘occupations’ of the cardinals. ** College then = 182 **

January 10, 2010: Cardinal Armand Gaétan Razafindratandra, of Madagascar, Archbishop Emeritus of Antananarivo, died unexpectedly having had a fall while taking a walk. He had turned 84 last August.
** College then = 182 **

December 31, 2009: Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly, of Ireland, Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh, died late in the day on Decmeber 31, 2009. He had turned 92 in October. ** College then = 183 **

December 30, 2009: Japanese Cardinal Peter Seiichi Shirayanagi, who had turned 81 this past June, died unexpectedly, in Tokyo. ** College then = 184 **

December 18, 2009: Cardinal Józef Glemp of Poland, created a cardinal by his compatriot in 1983, turned 80. He thus ceased to be an elector. That reduced the number of electors. ** College then = 185 **

November 17, 2009: Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi of Cameroon, at 79, retired as the Archbishop of Douala. ** College then = 185 **

October 24, 2009: Italian Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, well over the 75 year retirement age, resigned from being the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. ** College then = 185 **

July 17, 2009: Cardinal Jean Margéot (Mauritius), a cardinal priest since 1988, died at the age of 93. ** College then = 185 **

I checked on September 25, 2010 (Rome time) the Vatican list of cardinals. It has not been updated since February 20, 2010! So it is at 182 cardinals, 111 electors. So the Vatican list continues to fall out-of-step! To be fair, as far as I have seen, the Vatican has never claimed to be competent, not even when the Inquisition was running rampant. Just autocratic.

The Rationale for these Demographics

Following my “Next Pope — Papabili List for 2009,” I had some questions as to the amount of sway the curial cardinals would have at the next conclave. So I did some analysis on the composition of the current College beyond just age and nationalities. This is an ongoing effort to keep the data that I found up to-date. I also used these stats when writing my ‘The Next Pope – After Pope Benedict XVIbook.

Of the 179 total cardinals:

  • 6 are Cardinal Bishops, 3 are Oriental Rites Patriarchs, 143 are Cardinal Priests & 27 Cardinal Deacons
  • Average age is 77.9 years
  • 32 belong to religious orders, with 2 more belonging to Opus Dei which is a Personal Prelature
  • The macro geographic breakdown is as follows:
    Africa 13, Americas 48 (U.S.A. 16), Asia 18, Europe 96 (Italy 38), Oceania 4
    Africa 12 countries, Americas 16, Asia 11, Europe 23, Oceania 2 — 64 countries in total
    Italy 38, U.S.A 16, Spain 10, France 9, Poland 8, Germany 6, Brazil 8, India 6, Argentina 4, Mexico 4, Canada 3, Ireland 2, Philippines 3 & Switzerland 3

Of the 103 cardinals, under the age of 80 [i.e., ‘electors’]:

  • 4 are Cardinal Bishops, 83 are Cardinal Priests & 16 are Cardinal Deacons [Zero Oriental Rites Patriarchs]
  • 16 hold curial offices. Of these 1 is a cardinal bishops (viz. Bertone), 6 are cardinal priests and 11 are cardinal deacons
    (Italy – 6, Rest of Europe – 5, U.S.A. – 1, Canada – 1, Latin America – 1 , India – 1 & Africa – 1)
  • 54 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
  • 29 are ‘retired,’ i.e., emeritus status
  • 1, viz. Cardinal Bernard Francis Law (formerly of Boston, USA), is an Archpriest
  • Average age is 72.5 years; 10 in their 79th year, youngest being Peter Erdö (Hungary) at 58
  • 19 belong to religious orders, 4 of whom are Salesians, 3 Franciscans, 2 Jesuits along with an additional 1 belonging to Opus Dei
  • 73 (71%) 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 32 (U.S.A. 11), Asia 9, Europe 52 (Italy 17), Oceania 1
    Africa 8 countries, Americas 14, Asia 6, Europe 21, Oceania 1 — 51 countries in total
    Italy 17, U.S.A 11, France 5, Spain 5, Germany 5, Brazil 4, Mexico 4, Poland 3, India 3 & Canada 2

Of the 76 cardinals, over the age of 80:

  • 2 are Cardinal Bishops, 3 are Oriental Rites Patriarch (Babylon of the Chaldeans & Antioch for Maronites), 60 are Cardinal Priests & 11 are Cardinal Deacons
  • 1 is an Archbishops – Cardinal Vithayathil, Syro-Malabra (India)
  • 70 are ‘retired,’ i.e., emeritus status
  • 2 are Oriental Rites Patriarchs
  • 3, Cardinal Deacons and distinguished academics all, fall into a ‘continuing prior career’ category in that they were created cardinals after they had turned 80 and were thus too old to hold curial offices.
  • Average age is 85.3 years; oldest Cardinal Tonini (Italy) at 96 with eight in their 80th year.
  • 12 belong to religious orders with 6 of them Jesuits & 3 Franciscans plus 1 belonging to Opus Dei.
  • 4 of these cardinals were created by Pope Paul VI between 1969 and 1976
  • 66 (87%) by Pope John Paul II between 1979 and 2003
  • 6 by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 & 2007
  • The macro geographic breakdown is as follows:
    Africa 4, Americas 16 (U.S.A. 5), Asia 9, Europe 44 (Italy 21), Oceania 3
    Africa 4 countries, Americas 8, Asia 7, Europe 11, Oceania 2 — 31 countries in total
    Italy 20, Poland 5, Spain 5, Brazil 4, U.S.A 5, France 4, India 3

Hope this helps. All the best.

Anura

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