On Nov. 28 Pope Francis will celebrate his seventh consistory, in which he’ll appoint 13 new cardinals. Only nine of them will be allowed to participate in a future conclave. The other four will not be allowed to vote because they are over 80 years old.
The College of Cardinals would be made up of 128 electors and 101 non-electors. That surpasses the limit of 120 voters that Paul VI established in 1975.
Before the upcoming consistory was announced, the College of Cardinals was made up of 119 electors, only one below the limit.
That’s what makes this particular consistory intriguing, as normally, the pope would wait for there to be more vacancies before naming new cardinals. This isn’t the first time it happens however. For example, in 2001, under John Paul II, the number of electors rose to 135.
“Let us pray for the new cardinals so that they, confirming their adhesion to Christ, will help me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome, for the good of all the holy, faithful people of God.”
Since his election, Pope Francis has been restructuring the College of Cardinals. It can now be considered much more universal.
After the November consistory, he will have had elected 57 percent of its 229 total members. That means 95 cardinals will have been named by Pope Francis; 69 by Benedict XVI; and 65 by John Paul II.
Pope Francis has chosen cardinals from remote regions instead of from traditional places like Venice and Milan. He’s preferred a College of Cardinals more representative of Latin America, Africa and Asia; and less of Europe. Now, Asia, Africa and Latin America will make up 45 percent of the College. That percentage was at 35 for the conclave that elected Pope Francis.
Representatives from Latin America after this consistory will make up 18.5 percent of the College, while those from Africa and Asia will hold the highest percentage in history, with Africa making up 14 percent, an increase from the nine percent that saw Pope Francis elected; and Asia 12.5 percent instead of its previous nine percent.
The conclave that elected Pope Francis was 52 percent European, but after the November consistory, that number will go down to 41 percent. It’s the lowest percentage of European representatives at a conclave. The percentage of Italian cardinals has also been reduced to 17 percent, what it was during John Paul II’s pontificate.
After the November consistory, the United States will make up only seven percent of the College, its lowest number in decades.
Daniel Díaz Vizzi