by Anura Guruge
On Thursday, January 5, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI (#266) accepted the resignation, from the post of Major Penitentiary, of 76-year old Italian Cardinal Deacon Fortunato Baldelli [dob: Aug. 6, 1935]. He, a career curialist and nuncio, had been the Major Penitentiary since June 2, 2009. He was created at the last cardinal creating consistory on November 20, 2010. His retirement would have been per the 75-year retirement age specified in Canon 354 of the 1983 Code, the Major Penitentiary being the head of the curial, Apostolic Penitentiary.
The new M. P. is Portuguese Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro who until today was the Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops and as such also the Secretary of the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal Baldelli’s retirement being accepted by the pope at 76 is not untoward. The prior M.P., the American Stafford also retired at 76. The American Wakefield Baum, who was the prior Cardinal M.P. (with an intervening non-cardinal M.P.) retired the day after his 75th birthday. The cardinal prior to that, Italian Dadaglio, also called it quits at 75. So I would not read anything into this ‘early’ retirement.
This retirement only changes the employment statistics of the College. Baldelli, at 76, continues as an elector.
The College continues 192, and the electors remain at 109.
As of January 5, 2012, there are 109 cardinal electors with 83 no longer able to participate in a conclave.
[The electors represent 57% of cardinals.]
The College as of January 5, 2012 is at 192.
Summary of Major Changes in the Last 12 Months
January 5, 2012: 76-Year old Italian Cardinal Deacon Fortunato Baldelli retires as Major Penitentiary.
** College continues at 192, electors continue at 109 **
◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ 2012 ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊
Changes to the College in 2011. Click image for post.
Refer to this post for changes in 2010 and 2009.