The Pope notably reinforced today the majority in the College of Cardinals that will have to elect his successor. Pope Francis announced that next August 27 there will be a Consistory to create 21 new cardinals, of which 16 are voters under the age of 80 with the right to vote in the Conclave that will elect the 267th. pontiff of the Church.
The maximum number of voters provided for by the reform of Paul VI is 120 cardinals. But with today’s papal decision, the total number of voters rose to 131. On Wednesday, the Pope’s appointment of Cardinal Giuseppe Zuppi, archbishop of Bologna, as president of the Italian Episcopal Conference and visible head of the progressive sector of the Church, had, according to most Vaticanists, “a taste of succession.”
This is the eighth consistory convened by Francisco, which was late because it was expected that the announcement was expected for October-November.
Jorge Bergoglio waited until today, after the appointment of Cardinal Zuppi as head of the most important Catholic Episcopal Conference, since the natural head of the assembly is the Pope himself, Bishop of Rome.
Francis, in his presentation every Sunday (EFE/EPA/VATICAN MEDIA)
The College of Cardinals is made up of 208 cardinals, of whom 117 are electors and 91 cannot vote. because they are 80 years old. After the Consistory of August 27, the College of Cardinals will add 229 cardinals, of which 131 electors are qualified electors.
Among those created are three heads of dicastery of the Roman Curia, Pope’s “ministers”. They are the English Arthur Roche, prefect of the congregation for Divine Worship; the Korean Lazaro You Heung-sik, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy; and the Spaniard Fernandez Vergez Alzaga, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State and Governatorate.
The cardinal electors cover a good part of the geography of planetary Catholicism. Among them are Brazilians Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, archbishop of Manaus, and Paulo Cezar Costa, archbishop of Brasilia, the capital.
From Latin America, another “created” —as they say in ecclesiastical jargon— is the Archbishop of Asuncion of Paraguay, Adalberto Martinez Flores.
They will also receive on August 27 in a ceremony the cap and the cardinal’s ring the Archbishop of Marseille, Jan-Marc Aveline; the Archbishop of San Diego, in the USA, Robert Walter McElroy; the Bishop of Como, Italy, Oscar Cantoni, the Archbishop of Hyderabad, India, Antonhy Poola and the Bishop of Ekwulobia, Nigeria, Peter Paleke.
The first Cardinal of Dili, in East Timor, Virgilio Do Armo Da Silva; the Bishop of Wa, in Ghana, Richard Kuuia Baawobr; the Archbishop of Singapore William Goh Seng Chye and the Metropolitan of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, are other names.
Francisco already thinks about the Pope who takes the reins of the Vatican after his papacy (REUTERS)
Pope awarded the purple on an honorary basis to five cardinals over the age of 80 who do not enter the Conclave. Among them stands out Monsignor Fortunando Frezza, canon of the Basilica of San Pedro; Jesuit professor of theology Gianfranco Ghirlanda; the Archbishop Emeritus of Cartagena, Colombia, Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal, the Belgian Archbishop Lucas Van Looy and the Archbishop Emeritus of Cagliari, Italy, Archbishop Arrigo Miglio.
With a veritable squad of cardinals, Francisco has a majority of 96 cardinals in the Conclave named by him. He was 75 and with this figure he amply pierced the absolute majority of 86.
The appointment of Cardinal Zuppi, which makes him a strong candidate in the succession, joins another name already in the limelight for almost two years. That of the former Archbishop of Manila Luis “Chito” Tagle, who the Pope promoted to the strategic position of Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The cardinals Zuppi and Tagle are identified with the reformist orientation of Francis’ pontificate, contrasted by the most conservative ecclesiastical sectors.