From Crux Now
A look at the College of Cardinals after Polish cardinal’s 80 birthday
ROME – Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former archbishop of Krakow and longtime secretary to St. John Paul II, celebrated his 80th birthday April 27, ending his eligibility to vote in a conclave.
With his birthday, the College of Cardinals returns to having 120 cardinal electors, the maximum limit established by St. Paul VI, but frequently set aside for months at a time over the past three decades.
The Catholic Church currently has 222 cardinals, who come from 88 nations.
The 120 cardinals under 80 years of age and, therefore, eligible to enter a conclave, come from 65 countries, a result of Pope Francis’s practice of naming several cardinals from countries that have never had one before.
His efforts, however, have not done much to make the percentage of cardinals from one geographical region match the percentage of the world’s Catholics found in that region.
For example, according to Vatican statistics published in February, 21.8 percent of the world’s Catholics live in Europe, while 48.5 percent live in Latin America.
In the current College of Cardinals, 42.5 percent of the cardinal electors come from Europe, while 17.5 percent come from Latin America.
However, Francis has visibly shifted the college’s makeup with fewer members being from Europe and many more from Africa and Asia.
In the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005 after the death of St. John Paul II, 115 cardinals from 52 countries entered the Sistine Chapel: 50.4 percent were from Europe; 18.2 percent were from Latin America; 12.1 percent were from the U.S. and Canada; 9.6 percent were from Africa; 7.8 percent were from Asia; and 1.7 percent were from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Eight years later, when Benedict resigned, 115 cardinals from 48 countries participated in the conclave that elected Francis: 52.1 percent of the cardinal electors were from Europe; 16.5 percent were Latin American; 12.1 were North Americans; 9.6 were from Africa; 8.7 percent were from Asia; and less than 1 percent were from what the Vatican calls Oceania.
With Dziwisz leaving the group, the cardinal electors now include: 42.5 percent from Europe; 17.5 percent from Latin America; 10 percent from North America; 13.3 percent from Africa; 13.3 percent from Asia and 3.3 percent from Oceania.
Bishop (now Cardinal) Dziwisz was the secretary to Pope John Paul II during the visit in which Father Kunst introduced his parents to the Pope. Afterwards his mother, Dorothy Kunst, corresponded with the bishop thanking him for his kindness. He responded to her with a very kind letter of his own.
Dear Mrs. Kunst,
I read your kind letter with much interest. You are to be highly commended for the many sacrifices and for the untiring efforts put forth to rear seven children in the Catholic faith even though you are a Jewish mother.
It is good to hear how you treasure the fond memories of participating at Mass with the Holy Father. I’m happy that this opportunity was yours.
As we commence the third millennium I invoke God’s
abundant blessings upon you and your husband, your priest
son and the members of his wonderful family.
January 3, 2017: An Incredible Experience Awaits the Curator of Papal Artifacts
Papal Artifacts joins in the Curator’s joy today as he was able to attend Mass with the former secretary to Pope St. John Paul II, Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz presiding at his altar and to have a conversation with him. Fr. Kunst was the tour director of a small group of pilgrims who have all spent the past week in Rome. Truly this experience was a high light for all of them, and in particular for our Curator who was privileged to have seven audiences with John Paul, many of which were attended by then Bishop Dziwisz because of his role as secretary.The Cardinal, who retired on December 8 of 2016, was so cordial and hospitable to this group. Papal Artifacts asks for blessings upon his retirement and continued best wishes for him.