Benedict XVI will create 22 new cardinals

Source: FSSPX News

During the Angelus on January 6, 2012, Benedict XVI announced that he will convene a consistory on February 18th during which he will elevate twenty-two new members to the College of Cardinals, of whom eighteen will become new cardinal electors.  This fourth consistory of his pontificate will bring the number of members of the Sacred College to 214, of whom 125 will be electors in the event of a conclave.

 The new College of Cardinals will have a majority of Europeans: 119, of whom 67 will be cardinal electors, well over half of electors.  Far ahead of other European nations, Italy has seen the number of its cardinals increase to a total of 52, with 30 of those eligible to be cardinal electors.  By themselves, the Italians represent 25% of the electoral college.  After Italy, comes the United States with 12 electors, Germany and Brazil with 6 each, Spain with 5, and France, Poland, Mexico and India with 4 each.

Accordingly, the distribution among the five continents will be:  European Cardinals will account for 67 electors of 125 possible or 53.6%; Latin American will have 22 or 17.6%; North America will have 15 or 12%; Asia will have 9 or 7.2%; Africa 11 or 8.8%; and one cardinal will come from Oceania (0.8%).

After February 18, the absolute majority of the electors will have been named cardinal by Benedict XVI, 63 of 125 (50.4%).  The number of 120 cardinal electors under 80 years of age, set for the conclave by Paul VI, will again be reached after the 80th birthday of the American Cardinal  James Francis Stafford on 26 July 2012.

As of February 18th, the Roman Curia will have no fewer than 10 new cardinals.  Among the Roman prelates who will receive the red biretta, the latest is Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, who was appointed Grand Penitentiary of the Catholic Church by Benedict XVI on January 5, 2012.  It should be noted that among the names missing from the list is that of Monsignor Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.  The Synod on the New Evangelization of October 2012 as well as the proclamation of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013) would lead one to think, however, that the Italian prelate would have been elevated to cardinal.

Benedict XVI also appointed four cardinals over the age of 80, among whom is Father Karl Josef Becker SJ, the Pope’s fellow countryman and a consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1977.  Close to Cardinal Ratzinger for a long, he was, from 2009 to 2011,  a member of the Committee of Roman Theologians responsible for the doctrinal discussions with the Society of St. Pius X.