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Monday, June 28, 2010

New Cardinals?

There has been much talk over the last year or so about new Cardinals being appointed to the Church; when, where, who, etc. Today I read with interest an article on one of my favorite blogs Whispers in the Loggia. Reprinted here is a portion of that article:

Come the first days of July, B16 will literally head for the hills, remaining in residence at the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo until late September. And on his return, one key decision the pontiff will face is the creation of new cardinals and the date of a consistory to elevate new members of the college which advises him in life and, upon his death, will elect his successor.

As of today, the voting complement of the "Pope's Senate" numbers 108 -- twelve short of its maximum 120; the figure's next drop will come on 7 July as Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick reaches the ineligibility age of 80, with at least another six seats falling open by mid-November.

Given the scenario, a mini-frenzy was had in early March as prominent reports in the Italian press circulated that a consistory to fill the 19 foreseen slots would be held over Christ the King weekend, 20-21 November. However, recent chatter in Rome has cast some doubt over the late fall date, with some indications reporting that -- in an economical move -- the pontiff might just hold off for another six months or so, until mid-2011, by which point another half-dozen electors will have aged out of a hypothetical conclave.

Either way, between the present and the end of 2012, another whole quarter of the voting College -- some 30 cardinals -- will superannuate; add in the dozen who've turned 80 since the 2007 consistory, and the figure exceeds a third of the eventual papal electorate.

Along these lines, it's been noted here before but, given the significance, bears repeating: among the recent or upcoming retirees are a full half of the 12 American electors -- a figure without precedent in such a short time-frame.

As history goes, the period ahead offers Benedict an unparalleled free hand at reshaping the Stateside church's topmost rank... and with this pontificate's picks averaging in their early 60s on receiving the red hat, smart money can easily foresee the coming crop of cardinals holding the helm for a generation, or even more.

This fall should prove very exciting!!! Stay tuned...

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