Twenty-four New Cardinals at Next Consistory

Source: FSSPX News

On October 20th Benedict XVI announced he will hold a consistory on November 20th, during

which he will create 24 new cardinals, bringing to 203 the number of members of the Sacred

College, of whom 121 would be electors in the conclave. This will be the third consistory of his pontificate. As of this date, the cardinal electors created by Benedict XVI will be at 50, the current cardinal electors who were created by John Paul II will be at 71.

Seven senior officials of the Roman Curia will form part of the Sacred College:

Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes
Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, recently named the head of the Congregation for the Clergy
Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature
Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture
Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Archbishop Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum

Certain holders of titular cardinal seats around the world were also chosen by Benedict XVI:

Patriarch Antonios Naguib, of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt
Archbishop Reinhard Marx, of Munich and Freising, Germany
Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz, of Warsaw, Poland
Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Italy
Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, retired archbishop of Quito, Ecuador
Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil
Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, retired archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia
Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don of Colombo, Sri-Lanka and retired secretary of the Congregation  for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and delegate of the Pope to the Legionaries of Christ
Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the  Walls
Archbishop Paolo Sardi, pro-patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

In addition, two bishops and two priests will be honorary or non-elector cardinals :

Archbishop José Manuel Estepa Llaurens, 84 years old, retired military ordinary of Spain
Archbishop Elio Sgreccia, 82 years old, retired president of the  Pontifical Academy for Life
Archbishop Domenico Bartolucci, 93 years old, retired director of the Sistine Chapel Choir
Archbishop Walter Brandmüller, 81 years old, retired president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

While he has logically made cardinals of Archbishop Angelo Amato (Causes of the Saints), Bishop Mauro Piacenza (Clergy), Bishop Fortunato Baldelli (Major Penitentiary) and Archbishop Raymond Burke (Apostolic Signature), appointed ex officio, Benedict XVI has also chosen to confer the cardinal purple upon three of eight presidents of pontifical councils who are also  bishops (of whom two were recently appointed): Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi (Culture, on the picture), Bishop Kurt Koch (Christian Unity) and Archbishop Robert Sarah (Cor Unum), thus giving more influence to these departments.

The unexpected choice of Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah seems to have been guided by the desire to insert a little more representation of the Africans into the bosom of the College of Cardinals; likewise the choice of retired Archbishop of Lusaka (Zambia), Bishop Joseph Mazombwe Medardo. The appointment of Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa (DRC), was expected. If one adds the appointment of the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, Archbishop Antonios Naguib, all together on the African continent there will be 12 Cardinal electors. Africans will then represent 10% of voters, compared with 8% previously.

Unsurprisingly, Benedict XVI appointed some incumbent bishops of cardinal seats around the world whose predecessors have already reached 80 years. But in the absence of Latin American candidates, he chose to offer the red biretta to two prelates: retired Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga of Quito (Ecuador) and Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida (Brazil).  Interestingly, Quito and Aparecida are not traditional cardinal seats. Henceforth, North and South America together will have 36 cardinal electors.

In revealing the list of future princes of the Church, Benedict XVI has pointed out that his choices reflect “the universality of the Church.”  Nevertheless, Europeans will remain as the majority among the cardinal electors (62 out of 121) and the Italians (25), as always, are well represented, as more than one elector in five are natives of the Italian peninsula.

In creating Bishop Velasio De Paolis cardinal, the Pope gives more weight to the President of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See. This high prelate is also the pontifical delegate to the Legionaries of Christ.  Equally, in offering a cardinal biretta to Bishop Kurt Koch, the very recently appointed president of the Council of Christian Unity, Benedict XVI intends to show the importance he attaches to ecumenism.  This has not failed to put a spotlight on the Swiss prelate in the wake of the announcement of the names of the cardinals who will be created next month: "it is probably not due to my person that the Pope has chosen for me to so quickly become a cardinal, but due to my office, so as to give a clear sign demonstrating the importance he gives to ecumenism and relations with Judaism.”

The entry into the College of Cardinals of Bishop Gianfranco Ravasi (on the picture) will open to him the doors to the next conclave where, according to some vaticanistas, he could be consider papabile as the head of the “anti-restorationist” block  which is opposed to the course of the current Pope. This is a significant story reported by Italian journalist Sandro Magister in 2007, at the time of his appointment as head of the Council for Culture: "for years, Bishop Ravasi has been a candidate for everything" including the Archbishop of Milan, his diocese, but until now he has been passed over. In 2005 he seemed to be in line to acquire the bishopric of Assisi, the city of St. Francis—a small diocese, but a great world forum. However, on June 25th the members of the Congregation charged with the appointments of new Bishops met together for the final considerations and on the table was a press clipping. It was an article about Bishop Ravasi published March 31, 2002 in the Sunday supplement of the daily financial newspaper Il Sole delle 24 Ore. The article focused on Easter and the title was: “He was not raised, he arose.” Some frowned, others declared that it was an attack on correct doctrine. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation, withdrew the nomination.

As at each consistory, the Pope chose to offer the cardinal biretta to some prelates or bishops over the age of 80, and thus ineligible to vote, but to recognize “their generosity and dedication in service to the Church.” Among them, Bishop Domenico Bartolucci, Choirmaster of the Sistine Chapel from 1956 to 1997, aged 93. Benedict XVI pays homage to this master of classical choir who is attached to the traditional liturgy and whose departure in 1997 hurt Cardinal Ratzinger.  Furthermore, by raising to the cardinalate  Bishop Elio Sgreccia the retired President of Pontifical Academy for Life,  the Pope acknowledges the many battles this Italian prelate has waged against abortion and euthanasia.