31 new cardinals

Source: FSSPX News


The announcement on Sunday September 28 of the creation of 31 cardinals, and of a consistory on October 21 next, maintains Vatican observers in the idea that the pope is preparing for his succession. “Beyond the sham reassurances, indispensable in order to avoid creating additional alarm, the pope’s entourage is extremely worried” about the state of his health, stated Il Messagero of Friday September 26, in order to explain the holding of a consistory in October, thus anticipating by five months the 9th consistory of John Paul II’s pontificate, initially scheduled for February 2004.

Of the 31 new cardinals, 7 belong to the Roman Curia and 19 are heads of dioceses throughout the world. 26 prelates are under 80 and are therefore eligible to vote at the conclave. The remaining four are over 80. The name of the last one, created in pectore, has not yet been divulged – speculation is rife in Roman ecclesiastical circles to try and identify him. The name of the archbishop of Hong Kong, Mgr. Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun, is being suggested, whose announcement as cardinal could upset Peking at a moment when relations between Rome and China are particularly difficult.

Among the 19 bishops of local Churches, six are Italian, two are Spanish and two are French: the archbishops of Lyon, Mgr. Philippe Barbarin, and of Marseille, Mgr. Bernard Panafieu, whose nominations were expected. As was that of Mgr. Jean-Louis Tauran, minister of “foreign affairs” at the Vatican.

The college of Elector Cardinals will number 135 as from October 21, that is fifteen more than the 120 imposed by Paul VI in 1975, and confirmed by John Paul II in the apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis published in 1996. During the last consistory in February 2001, the pope had already exceeded this limit, also naming a total of 135 elector cardinals at that time.

These 135 cardinals come from 59 different countries. The geographical distribution is more or less identical to that of the actual college, the Europeans still representing almost half of the college with 66 cardinals, that is 49%. Latin America, for her part numbers 24 cardinals aged less than 80, that is 18%, while the African and Asian continents represent, individually 10% of the electoral college with 13 cardinals each, almost equaling the number of North American cardinals, which is 14. Oceania is for her part represented by 5 cardinals, that is 4% of the electoral college.

As for distribution by country, the Italians are still in the lead with 23 elector cardinals, that is 17% of the electoral college. The United States follows with 11 electors, then Spain with 8, Germany and Brazil with 6 each, Poland and France with 5 elector cardinals each. – In order to elect a pope, two thirds of the elector cardinals’ votes are necessary, that is 90 votes, if the 135 elector cardinals are present in the Sistine Chapel.

Of these 135 cardinals, 25 occupy posts at the Roman Curia (18%), 88 are in charge of dioceses around the world (65%) and 22 no longer have a particular post.

With the 9 consistories convoked by John Paul II, in 25 years of his pontificate, he will have created 231 cardinals – plus one in pectore –, of whom 130 out of 135 are electors, that is 96% of the electoral college.

The question of the limit of the number of cardinals to 120 does not seem to worry John Paul II, despite the fixed rules. “Once again I depart from the rule in exceeding the established limit,” he simply affirmed, before announcing the list of future cardinals. It is true that ten cardinals will have reached the age limit of 80 years by March 2004. But in the meantime, the question arises concerning the number of cardinals who will go into the conclave after the death of the pope, insofar as they will not have the authority necessary to disregard a rule established by a pope. John Paul II could leave some new instruction in his will, which would permit them to modify this numerus clausus.

List of Cardinals named by the pope September 28:

The seven prelates of the Roman Curia: Mgr. Jean-Louis Tauran (France), secretary for Relations with States; Mgr. Renato Raffaele Martino (Italy), president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”; Mgr. Francesco Marchisano (Italy) archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica; Mgr. Julian Herranz (Spain), president of the Council for Legislative Texts; Mgr. Xavier Lozano Barragan (Mexico), president of the Pontifical Council for pastoral health services; Mgr. Stephen Fumio Hamao (Japan), president of the Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples; Mgr. Attilio Nicora (Italy), president of the administration of the patrimony of the Apostolic See.

The 19 bishops belonging to local churches: Mgr. Angelo Scola (Italy), archbishop of Venice; Mgr. Anthony Oluibunmi Okogie (Nigeria), archbishop of Lagos; Mgr. Bernard Panafieu (France), archbishop of Marseilles; Mgr. Gabriel Zubeir Walo (Sudan), archbishop of Khartoum; Mgr. Carlos Amigo Valljeo (Spain), archbishop of Seville; Mgr. Justin Francis Rigali (USA), archbishop of Philadelphia; Mgr. Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien (Scotland), archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh; Mgr. Eusebio Oscar Scheid (Brazil), archbishop of Sao Sebastiao in Rio de Janeiro; Mgr. Ennio Antonelli (Italy), archbishop of Florence; Mgr. Tarcisio Bertone (Italy), archbishop of Genoa; Mgr. Peter Kodwao Appiah Turkson (Ghana), archbishop of Cape Coast; Mgr. Telesphore Placidus Toppo (India), archbishop of Ranchi; Mgr. George Pell (Australia), archbishop of Sydney; Mgr. Josip Bozanic (Croatia), archbishop of Zagreb; Mgr. Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man (Vietnam), archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City; Mgr. Rodolfo Quezada Toruno (Guatemala), archbishop of Guatemala; Mgr. Philippe Barbarin (France), archbishop of Lyon; Mgr. Peter Erdo (Hungary), archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest; Mgr. Marc Ouellet (Canada), archbishop of Quebec.

Finally, four ecclesiastics of particular merit, aged 80 years or more: Fr. George Marie Martin Cottier (Switzerland), theologian to the Pontifical household; Canon Gustav Joos (Belgium), of the diocese of Ghent; Fr. Tomas Spidlik (Czech Republic); Fr. Stanislas Nagy (Poland).

In the next issue of DICI , we will be giving commentaries made on some of these new cardinals by the progressive authors of the book, Qui sera le prochain pape? [Who will be the next pope ?] (March 2003, Editions Golias). These opinions – in the very liberal trend of Cardinal Silvestrini, heir of Cardinal Casaroli – may give valuable elements of appreciation, on condition that they are taken a contrario.