The College of Cardinals has 121 members eligible to vote in the next conclave

Source: FSSPX News


Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, Archbishop emeritus of Turin, celebrated his 80th birthday on December 11, 2004. On this date, 121 cardinals could vote in the next conclave. Those age 80 or more lose their right to elect the successor of the pope. Paul VI took away this right of octogenarian cardinals by the Motu proprio Ingravescentem aetatem of November 21, 1970. This rule has often been the source of controversy, especially during the discussions that took place when the Code of Canon Law of 1983 was being worked out. At that time several cardinals wanted to suppress the rule.

John Paul II, by the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis of February 22, 1996, confirmed this age limit, but clarified that while cardinals over 80 could no longer vote, they could still assist at the meetings of the cardinals following the death of the pope, which prepare for the election of a successor. And if a cardinal reaches his 80th birthday on the same day the pope dies or immediately afterward, he may still participate in the conclave.

There are a total of 185 cardinals, of which 121 are electors and 64 have reached the age of 80. 60 cardinals are European, of which 20 are Italian, representing 50% of the electoral college. Latin American cardinals represent 18 %, those from North America 11% and those from Africa 10%. Cardinals of Asian origin represent 9% of the electors and those from Oceania 2%. Among the cardinal electors, 63% are over 70 and 26% are over 75.