This is just a heads-up in case any of you plan to look at (or have recently looked at) the composition of the ‘College of Cardinals’ in preparation for the next conclave — whenever that might be.
Just be careful which list you look at — and check when it was last updated.
The composition of the College is somewhat dynamic. So far this year five (5) cardinals have passed away, viz. Peter Poreku Dery (March 6), Adolfo Antonio Suarez Rivera (March 22), Ernesto Corripio Ahumada (April 10), Alfonso Lopez Trujillo (April 21), and Bernardin Gantin (May13).
As of today, July 22, 2008, having counted them in multiple ways using an Excel spreadsheet just to make sure, there are a total of 194 cardinals with 116 under the age of 80 (and thus eligible to vote).
The Vatican list(s) pertaining to the College appears to have been last updated on May 14 — the day after Bernardin Gantin death. Please see the screen shot I took today.
Problem here is that time moves on — inexorably.
In June two cardinals, viz. Biffi and Shirayanagi, reached their 80th birthday. So they can no longer vote at the next conclave.
But this is not reflected in the “May 14” list. Thus the Vatican says that there are 118 eligible electors at present.
Interestingly the Wikipedia entry for the ‘College of Cardinals’ has it right.
That is good. As I state in my book on Papal Names, I am a great fan of Wikipedia. I believe that Wikipedia is rapidly becoming the primary, ‘first-look’ reference used by those that spend a lot of time in front of a computer.
But to be fair, I always hand-check Wikipedia lists before I start to use them.
I hand-checked the Wikipedia ‘College of Cardinals’ list today.
If you do a Google on ‘College of Cardinals,’ the Vatican and Wikipedia come after that of a Catholic Web site. They do have a nice list. That is the list I started with. But that appears NOT to have been updated this year! The five cardinals that died in 2008 are still on that list. That list says ‘199’ total, ‘117’ electors. Wrong!
So be aware if you start looking at these lists.
I will do my best, but with no promises, to make a post HERE whenever the composition of the College changes. We may be due for another Consistory. I will do my best to keep you posted.