79-Year Old Filipino Cardinal Priest Gaudencio Borbon Rosales Retires; College and Electors Remain Unchanged

Gaudencio Borbon Rosales
79-year old Gaudencio ("Dency") Borbon Rosales retires from Manila

by Anura Guruge

On October 13, 2011, the pope, Benedict XVI (#266) accepted the resignation of 79-Year Old Cardinal Gaudencio (“Dency”) Borbon Rosales [dob: August 10, 1932] as the Archbishop of Manila, Philippines — a post that he had held since September 2003. Two months past his 79th birthday the popular Archbishop was well past the nominal 75 year retirement age per Canon 401 § 1 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. He is being replaced by a well-know theologian, 54-year old Most. Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle of the Diocese of Imus, Cavite, a suffragan of Manila. Given the significance of Manila there is a chance that he will be created a cardinal in the next 36 months.

Archbishop Rosales was created a cardinal priest in March 2006. He will turn 80 next August and thus cease to be an elector. The latest thinking is that the next cardinal creating consistory will be in October or November 2012. If that were to be the case, Philippines the world’s third largest Catholic nation will be without a cardinal elector for a few months. The Catholics of the Philippines will not be happy. The only consolation is that I do not think that there will be a conclave in 2012 — even though on February 29, 2012 the pope becomes the 6th oldest pope since 1400, leapfrogging over his predecessor John Paul II (#265).

Cardinal Rosales retirement from Manila does not change the size of the College, which remains at 193, or the number of electors, viz. 113, since he is still an elector. All that the retirement did was increase the number of retired cardinals by 1 and decrease those that were Archbishops by 1.

Barring other changes the next change to the number of electors will take place on November 4, 2011 when the rogue cardinal, who should be in prison rather than in Rome, turns 80.