Tag Archives: Cardinal electors

Cardinal Electors Who Will Have Turned 80 By Christmas 2010

As of July 7, 2010, when U.S. Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick turned 80, there have been 107 cardinal electors (within a total of 179 cardinals).

Speculation as to when the next cardinal creating consistory will occur to ‘top up’ the cardinal electors, to the full 120 or a number close to it, continues to intensify. Background facts can be found here.

Between now (August 1, 2010) and Christmas 2010 six more cardinal electors are due to turn 80 thus becoming non-electors. These six cardinals are listed below. All six are now retired [i.e., emeritus status] which is to be expected given their age — with Cardinal Janis Pujats having just retired on June 19, 2010.

[The notation used is: birthday: cardinal’s name with order (year created) —
[number of electors, barring other eventualities], comments]

1. August 30, 2010: French Cardinal Priest Paul Poupard (1985, cardinal deacon) —
[106], France down to 5 electors, Europe to 54 [50.9%].

2. September 6, 2010: Italian Cardinal Priest Salvatore De Giorgi (1998) —
[105], Italy down to 18 electors, Europe to 53 [50.5%].

3. September 18, 2010: Syrian Patriarch, Cardinal Bishop Ignace Moussa I Dauod (2001) —
[104], Asia down to 9 electors.

4. September 26, 2010: Italian Cardinal Priest Michele Giordano (1988) —
[103], Italy down to 17 electors, Europe to 52 [50.5%].

5. October 15, 2010: Camaroon Cardinal Priest Christian Wiygham Tumi (1988) —
[102], Africa down to 8 electors.

6. November 14, 2010: Lativian Cardinal Priest Janis Pujats (1998, in pectore) —
[101], Europe down to 51 electors [50.5%].

Hope this helps.

Anura Guruge

Latvian Cardinal Janis Pujats, 79, Relinquishes Diocesan Duties. Cardinals 179, Cardinal Electors 108.

As with heads of curial dicasteries, diocesan bishops must tender their resignations to the pope upon completing their seventy-fifth year of life. This requirement for curial heads is covered in Canon 354 of the 1983 Code whereas that for diocesan bishops is embodied in Canon 401. [Just yesterday we talked about the anticipated resignation of Cardinal Re from the Congregation of Bishops since he is now 76.]

Today, i.e., June 19, 2010,  it was announced that the pope had accepted the resignation of Latvian Cardinal Janis Pujats as Archbishop of Riga. Pujats, who was born on November 14, 1930, is 79 and will cases to be an elector in November. So the resignation was pending for three years. This is not unusual.

Cardinal Pujats’ 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 May 4, 2010 when 98 year old German Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer passed away. Please refer to that 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 today’s 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
  • 19 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 – 7, 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
  • 25 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

Pope Peter The Roman? The Next Pope? Seriously?

Anura Guruge

Another post related to St. Malacy and Peter the Roman

Another post about the inconsistencies in the
St. Mala
chy ‘Prophecy of the Popes’

The next pope, the one that will succeed Pope Benedict XVI (#266), will NOT go by the name ‘Peter the Roman,’ ‘Pope Peter the Roman,’ ‘Peter II,’ ‘ Petrus Romanus,’ ‘Pietro the Great, ‘Pete of Ireland,‘ or any name, in anyway, that has anything to do with ‘Peter.’

I will even go as much to say that the next pope will even bypass ‘Paul VII,’ though it is a perfectly valid papal name, because of St. Paul’s association with St. Peter.

I am NOT sure how I can make this any clearer. The St. Malachy prophecy that claims that the next pope will be ‘Peter the Roman’ will NOT come to pass.

If you check my work (which is readily available, in large quantities on the Web) you will see that I, usually, do NOT hesitate to admit that I might be wrong. During my star-crossed life I have learned that fallibility is my faithful handmaiden, though my track record for veracity leaves most in the dust.

St. Malachy

As far as I am concerned, there are no IF AND BUTS. There are no caveats or weasel words.

The next pope will NOT be Peter the Roman.

I am as certain of this, as I am that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

How can I be so certain, in this instance?

Please do appreciate that it is not just a trivial matter of the next pope wanting to be known as ‘Peter the Roman.’ Per the prophecy, having a pope named ‘Peter the Roman’ signals the end of the Church and the fall of Rome. That is rub. That is why I have always been so sure that we will never see a pope called ‘Peter the Roman’ or even ‘Peter II.’

Why the certainty …

Simple, it has all to with the 100 to 120 cardinal electors that will elect the next pope.

So let me explain this to you, diplomatically and tactfully as possible, using as many euphemism that I can muster.

IF YOU believe that the next pope will be called Peter the Roman you are ALSO SAYING (possibly without realizing it) that ALL the cardinal electors are gaumless and hapless.

That is where we DIFFER, and why I am so, so, so confident that the next pope will not be Peter the Roman or Peat of Ireland.

Irrespective of what YOU think of the cardinal electors, I know that at least 30, possibly quite a LOT MORE, are very savvy, ‘smooth operators’ with a well developed sense of self-preservation.

Think about it. You don’t become a Prince of the Church if you really can’t find your way around the proverbial block.

Plus, I am sure, that there are at least 10 among my 30 ‘smooth operators’ who are physically strong enough to forcibly subdue any among them that was elected pope.

So I will go along with you, I will compromise, because I want to be the ‘good cop.’

I will AGREE with you that the next pope, per Malachy, will be the last pope.

I will AGREE with you that the next pope, per Malachy, will feed the flock through many tribulations.

I will AGREE with you that the next pope, per Malachy, will preside over the destruction of Rome.

I will AGREE with you that the next pope, per Malachy, will lead all of YOU to be judged by a formidable judge.

I will AGREE with you that the next pope, per Malachy, will even tell the cardinal electors convened in the Sistine Chapel that he wishes to be known as ‘Peter the Roman.’

Get that?

I will concede that the next pope-elect will tell his electors that he wants to be ‘Peter the Roman.’

BUT, that is where WE part company.

St Malachy

In my book, at this juncture, my 10 brave, physically robust cardinal electors, Schonborn, Fox Napier and Barbarian, among this number … JUMP the pope-elect.

These cardinals are not going to sit idle while the Church and Rome are destroyed. It won’t be the first time a pope-elect has had hands placed on him.

That is why they wear RED. They are supposed to shed their blood to defend the Church.

To have the next pope be Peter the Roman is to say that the Church, Rome and Western Europe are at an end.

There are at least 30 cardinals savvy enough to make sure that this will not happen.

Do you get that?

Screw the prophecy. Think about the cardinal electors. There are some very SAVVY operators in that pool. They are NOT going to have NATO troops marching in on the Vatican.


Can we PLEASE stop this charade.

The NEXT POPE will NOT BE Peter the Roman.


Next Consistory (Updated Jan. 10, 2010)

Anura Guruge

<< Please also refer to this May 2, 2010 posting at Popes and Papacy. >>

In July 2009 when the College stood at 185 with 113 electors I speculated that we might be due for a consistory. Well, it is now clear we will not have one in 2009. Popes typically do not convene consistories in January, that traditionally being a time that prelates are supposed to spend in their home communities. But quite a few consistories have been held in February and March. But I get a feeling that it might be some time before we see the next consistory.

As of January 10, 2010, with the death of Irish Cardinal Cahal Brendan daly, we are at 112 electors — the College now standing at 182. The size of the College and the number of electors are thus way down from their respective high-water marks; viz., 201 cardinals after the November 24, 2007 consistory and 135 electors (from within 194 cardinals) after the October 21, 2003 consistory.

Having 135 electors was a bit naughty. In 1973 Pope Paul VI had stated that the number of cardinal electors [i.e., those under the age of 80] could not exceed 120. This 120 limit was codified two years later in clause #33 Paul VI’s October 1, 1975 Apostolic Constitution Romano Pontifici Eligendo (the election of the Roman Pontiff). John Paul II’s February 22, 1996 Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis (the Lord’s whole flock) which superseded Romano Pontifici Eligendo contained the same 120 cardinal elector limit — also in its clause #33. It is known that John Paul II was well aware that he was exceeding the 120 limit, which he did twice, once in 2001 and then in 2003.  [Contrary to what some think John Paul II probably did not exceed the 120 limit at his first consistory in 1979 since one of his creations was in pectore.] But the pope was obviously very au fait with the age statistics and the health status of his princes. He knew that there were many cardinals approaching their eightieth birthday and that some were in poor health. By the time of the April 2005 conclave, seventeen months later, the College was down to 183 cardinals of which 117 were eligible to be electors. It is still not clear what would have happened if there were more than 120 electors when the sede vacante occurred. Some contend that they would all have been permitted to participate in the election. I contend that this would have violated the Constitution — a BIG ‘no-no’ per the Constitution itself! So I suggest that the Camerlengo and a General Congregation would have agreed to exclude the most recently elected (per the rules of College precedence).

Large bodies of cardinals (and thus electors) is a relatively new phenomena. In 1586 Pope Sixtus V in his Postquam verus constitution set 70 as the limit for the size of the College of Cardinals. This 70 limit was never exceeded until 1958 when the iconoclastic Pope John XXIII exceeded it by 4. Within four years he had increased the size of the College to 90 — his rationale, valid as ever, being that the Church in the 20th century was much larger than it had been during the time of Sixtus V. Subsequent popes have continued to increase the size of the College as signified by the graph below — though Pope Benedict XVI, true to his background as a disciplinarian, has vowed that he would not exceed the 120 elector edict. There is, however, no upper limit as to the size of the College. Right now there are enough titles (tituli) to have 218 cardinals — 8 of them, however, would have to be Eastern Rites Patriarchs. But, as has been the case in the past, a pope can create new titles to accommodate more cardinals.

The Current 182 Cardinals/112 Electors Is Not An Issue
There were only 111 electors at the two 1978 conclaves. The 2005 conclave that elected the current pope had 115 electors. So the current numbers are not ‘critical.’ The pope could wait for the numbers to drop a bit more before he decides to create any new cardinals.

Possible Reasons For The Reticence
To be fair the pope has been busy. Earlier this year he had to deal with the whole issue as to why he reinstated the ultra-conservative bishops . Then there was the trip to the Holy Land. Then reaching out to the Anglicans. But, as with Presidents and moms, popes are expected to be busy and be able to multi-task, juggling multiple priorities. So that alone doesn’t cut it.

It is also possible that this pope is very comfortable with the political makeup of this College since he and his dear Mentor are responsible for creating all of the cardinal electors. [One could also be cynical and take the contrarian view. The pope realizes that he probably doesn’t have enough time to create enough electors to significantly change the predominantly conservative leanings of this College.]

I am not a pope-watcher. I am a papal historian. There is a difference. But I think I have a fairly decent feel of this pope. Despite all of the contretemps he has been involved with since becoming pope, I think he is a genuine intellectual. He is a thinker. He ponders. I also think he has a deeper conscience than his predecessor. I think, I could, as ever, be wrong, that this pope is truly contrite about the still unfolding clergy abuse scandal. Though it wasn’t enough he did just recently express his ‘distress’ to the Irish. I also recall him making an apology during his trip to Australia.

So what does the clergy abuse scandal have to do with the size of the College of Cardinals?


Two words. Cost & culpability.

Cardinals, today, are expensive. [Yes, it was the other way around 700 years ago. Creating cardinals was a way to replenish papal coffers. Those days are gone.] Maintaining cardinals is a cost that has to be incurred by the Vatican. Holding a consistory is not cheap. If nothing else there is significant travel and lodging costs. So on the whole having less cardinals — and no consistory — helps the Vatican budget. I think that has been a factor.

I also think, and I could be wrong, that this pope worries that he may create the wrong impression by creating new cardinals at this juncture — particularly from the countries most affected by the scandal. Think about. So that is my take. I don’t have any inside information from Rome. This is just my own musings. So take it for what it is worth.

Grace, and may peace be with you.

Time For Another Consistory? We Have Lost 16 Cardinals (July 20, 2009)

by Anura Guruge

Please refer to December 23, 2009 post about the ‘Next Consistory‘.

On July 17, 2009, Cardinal Jean Margéot (Mauritius), a cardinal priest since 1988, died at the age of 93. The last cardinal to die prior to that was the Italian, Franciscan Cardinal Umberto Betti on April 1, 2009, at the age of 87. He had participated in Vatican II. He had been created a cardinal in November 24, 2007 by the current pope (and as such had never participated in a conclave).

With Cardinal Margéot‘s passing the College of Cardinals now stands at 185, 113 under the age of 80 and as such still eligible participate in a conclave.

On March 5, 1973, Paul VI specified that the maximum numbers of cardinals that would be able to vote in a papal election [i.e., maximum number of electors] would be 120.

John Paul II, in 2001, overlooked this limit. Following what was his last but one consistory there had been 128 electors. He was aware of it. He was assuming, obviously and correctly, that a conclave was not imminent. (If there had been a need for conclave when there were more than 120 electors, the College, most likely, would have precluded the most recently created cardinals from participating in order to conform with the papal edict.) Following his last consistory in 2003 there were 135 electors within a College of 194 (plus one in pectore [i.e., name not announced])!

The world expert on cardinals, Salvador Miranda (who helps me out on a regular basis), has informed me that Benedict XVI, in his first consistory in 2006, stated that he does not intend to exceed Paul VI’s 120 limit for electors.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the current Dean of the College of Cardinals, turned 80 on November 23, 2007, one day ahead that last consistory. This meant that there were only 102 electors on the day of the consistory. Benedict created 18 new ones to bring the number to 120.

So after the last consistory on November 24, 2007, there were 201 cardinals, with 120 eligible to vote.

So we are down a total of 16 cardinals and 7 electors from that point.

On June 25, 2009 Cardinal Francesco Marchisano of Italy turned 80. On July 4, Colombian cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos will joined him. So we are down to 113 electors. This is not a problem, if anything, it is an opportunity.

At the time of the last conclave in April 2005, there were 183 cardinals in total, with 117 eligible to vote (Cardinal Ratzinger, the current pope, having been one of them).

There is, however, at present, no specified limit to the size of the total College per se, though it is probably limited, implicitly, by the actual number of titular and suburbicarian churches available in and around Rome. Per my calculations there are 211 such churches (but the Dean of the College gets Ostia in addition to another see, so the number in reality is 210). Plus we have the three (3) Eastern Patriarchs who are also in the College. So that gives us 213. That might be the limit — but it maybe possible for the pope, if he so wishes, to find other churches in the vicinity of Rome to add to this list, if he wants a College that is larger than 213.

In 1587, Sixtus V established the size of the College to be 70. This limit stood for 371 years. Then, in 1958, within months of being elected, John XXIII, increased the limit to 75. Then in 1960 he increased it to 88, and in 1962 to 90.

There are also no rules or even conventions as to when a pope should convene a consistory to create cardinals. Pius XII only held two consistories in his 19 year papacy. On the other hand, Pius XI, whose papacy was two years shorter, convened 17 consistories to create cardinals. John Paul II, during his 26 year reign, created 231 cardinals in 9 consistories (the 231 being the most cardinals created by a single pope). Paul VI reigned lasted 15 years. He created 143 cardinals in 6 consistories. So John Paul II convened a cardinal creating consistory, on average, every 2.8 years; Paul VI every 2.5 years.

Benedict XVI became pope on April 19, 2005. He has since created 38 cardinals in 2 consistories; March 24, 2006 and November 24, 2007. So compared to John Paul II and Paul VI, his ‘consistory rate’ is slightly faster.

So he could easily wait another year even before he opts to elect more cardinals — though I think (and I could be dead wrong) that we might see a cardinal creating consistory towards the end of this year, November, ahead of Christmas, being a popular time for consistories.

Hope this helps. Thank you for your time.


Popes in the Episcopal Lineage of Papabili & ‘Recent’ Popes

Concept and ALL the research by Mr. Byron Hoover, Papal Expert from Louisiana.

Earlier this week Byron sent me an e-mail asking whether I realized that Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, #7 in my 2009 papabili list, had seven popes in his episcopal lineage — and that this was more than what any of the other papabili had in their lineage. I did not know that. So I asked Byron, who had also helped me with research into popes who had ‘third order’ relationships with religious orders, whether he could research this for me — since I was heads-down researching three other papal topics.

Byron very kindly did so.

He noted that Clement XIII, Benedict XIV and Benedict XIII appear in the lineage of many of the recent popes and as well those cardinals in my list of papabili. He also pointed out that per Catholic tradition the Popes are the successors of St. Peter and the bishops are the successors of the Apostles.

I took Byron’s data and created two graphical matrices that show the popes that appear in the episcopal lineages: the first for my top ten papabili and the other for the last 15 popes. This data is all Byron’s work. Thank you, Byron.

But here are some caveats and notes pertaining to this data and the matrices.

1. The lineages shown here focus exclusively on consecrating bishops who would be or were popes.
2. A bold ‘P’ denotes consecration done by a pope. Most were done before they became pope.
3. In most cases there would have been other bishops in the lineage.
4. For complete lineages please refer to the excellent Catholic Hierarchy portal.
Salvador Miranda, the Cardinal expert, also pointed me to this site by Charles Bransom.
5. We do not have data going beyond the 16th century. So the lineages are not complete!

1. I included sequence numbers, e.g., 261, to provide perspective.
2. I also underlined, in bold, gaps in the sequence of popes.
3. In the ‘Pope’ matrix the ‘X’ denotes that pope’s name within the lineage lineup (below).

This study is much too narrow to tell us whether having popes in ones episcopal lineage is a ‘leading indicator’ as to ones chances of becoming pope. Obviously Pius XI, who was an unexpected long shot, didn’t have any in his lineage.

The incidence of Clement XIII, Benedict XIV and Benedict XIII intrigued me. But, I think we now have the answer. You can read the details either at the Charles Bransom Web site or on Wikipedia under ‘Pope Benedict XIII.’ Mr. Branson even gives it a name: ‘Rebiban Succession’ — since it has to do with Sicilian Cardinal Scipione Rebiba who was consecrated a bishop in March 1541 and created a cardinal in 1555. Wikipedia states (and we know much of their data needs to be verified against other sources) that Cardinal Rebiba appears in over 91% of the episcopal lineages of the current Catholic bishops (who number around 4,000)! [I cannot vouch for the veracity of this claim.] Pope Benedict’s lineage included Cardinal Rebiba. He, a Dominican friar to begin with, was consecrated a bishop in 1675. He became pope in 1724 and reigned till February 1730. He was, thus, a bishop for 55 years. During that time he consecrated at a minimum 139 bishops in Italy, Germany, France, England and in the new Latin American countries. Cardinal Rebiba and Pope Benedict XIII between them, thus, redefined episcopal lineages in many sees across the world. So this trend.

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga’s ‘seven popes’ is noteworthy (and I have to add that Byron is hoping that this will prove to be a good omen since he is hoping that this charismatic cardinal does better than what my rankings suggest).

So here are the two matrices.



Hope you enjoyed this. Thank you again Byron.

Grace, and may peace be with you all.

Anura Guruge