Catholic nations with the largest number of cardinal electors

You should read Mr. Allen’s interesting observations about the demographics of the College of Cardinals.  Here is a teaser:

In addition, there are places where the limited number of spots for
new cardinals might be better utilized. Here’s a projection of what the
top ten Catholic countries on earth will be in 2050, as measured by
population:

  • Brazil: 215 million
  • Mexico: 132 million
  • Philippines: 105 million
  • United States: 99 million
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: 97 million
  • Uganda: 56 million
  • France: 49 million
  • Italy: 49 million
  • Nigeria: 47 million
  • Argentina: 46.1 million

As of Nov. 24, those 10 nations will have a total of 55 cardinal
electors, but 41 come from Italy, France and the United States. The
other nations have a combined total of just 14, four of whom are
Vatican officials. The Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest
Catholic nation on the continent with the fastest rate of Catholic
growth, has no cardinal at all, and Uganda’s lone cardinal is over 80.
The Philippines has just three cardinals, with two electors.

By way of comparison, here are the Catholic nations with the largest number of cardinal electors:

  • Italy: 22
  • United States: 13
  • France: 6
  • Spain: 6
  • Germany: 6
  • Brazil: 4
  • Mexico: 4
  • Canada: 3
  • Poland: 3
  • India: 3
  • Colombia: 3

Why did Benedict select the Cardinals he chose?  Does he think that the
Church’s future right now depends more on the European/American factor?

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23 Responses to Catholic nations with the largest number of cardinal electors

  1. prof.basto says:

    The question is a complex one, and I don’t have the answer.

    Perhaps, the Holy Father mostly stuck to the established pattern.

    All in all, the list does not impress me.

    Either the popes should give greater attention to making better appointments
    to important Sees and especially to the possibility of removing bad Bishopsfrom duty, or
    of removing them at least from those Sees, or the pope should quit the pratice
    of automatic assigning Red Hats to the Arcbishops of major Sees.

    I mean, Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris certainly
    does not deserve a red rat. He is the antithesis of papalino.

    Sandri doesn’t deserve red either.

    And your good Arcbishop Burke deserved it, but didn’t get it.

  2. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I’m just glad some of the worst candidates up for the promotion (Marini, Romeo, Ncyz, Martin) didnt’ get the cardinals hat. And hopefully never will.

  3. mike says:

    Father Z

    The Third World does not have the treasury of tradition that the Western world has – perhaps the Pope is shoring-up the bulwarks where our religion has its deepest roots.

    m

  4. Celibatarian says:

    I suspect and hope that he made his choices based on the men themselves and how they have been serving the Church. I don’t have a problem with a red hat going to those who serve the largest and most important sees but it should be based on the simple correlation that the best bishops should be given the most significant sees and the best bishops should be getting red hats. The last thing the pope needs to be doing is to base this decision on demographics. This is not a representative democracy, this is a kingdom. The best, most faithful and most intelligent (& imo most orthodox) bishops should be the ones elevated regardless where they are from.

    Of course, this hasn’t seemed to have been the case on a number of occasions as evidenced by some more… progressive cardinals.

  5. Celibatarian says:

    Does anyone know of any kind of a breakdown on the relative orthodoxy of the new Cardinals-designate? What about from last year? As I said before, I suspect that B16 is not tipping the scales toward the first world but rather back toward more orthodox bishops in the College of Cardinals but that is purely my own speculation and hope rather than being based on any evidence other than that Abp Dinardo seems like one of the good guys.

  6. CS Gibson says:

    Let’s be realistic most of these millions of Catholics are nominal only. And in any case, the Church is not a democracy

  7. JP Giacomo says:

    It’s a modernist heresy to nominate Cardinals from outside the Diocese of Rome, anyway; what does it matter if they’re from Mexico or the Congo?

  8. Alex says:

    I think he is afraid of getting a first cohabitating or married cardinal. In Africa things are different. Most certainly since the “freedom” of Vatican II got proclaimed in the previously staunchly Catholic black African regions. They fell back easily. But I like Africans more theologically than Europeans. Most certainly. And I think they should get cardinal-electors.

    Where are Mgr. André-Mutien Léonard and Archbishop Patabendige Ranjith on the list anyway? Still the most promising faction in the Church is forgotten: I have not yet seen Bernard Fellay named a Cardinal-Presbyter.

  9. Ut videam says:

    Um… there were cardinals from outside of Rome long before modernism reared its ugly head.

  10. Joe says:

    I was surprised that Archbishop Wuerl did not receive the red hat, though I suspect he will soon receive one. The Washington Archdiocese is traditionally led by a Cardinal. I asked someone at St. Paul Cathedral Thursday evening about it and I was told that Wuerl did not receive one yet because Cardinal McCarrick is still with us. However, Cardinal Rigali received the red hat while Cardinal Bevilacqua is still with us as well.

    Everything I have heard about Cardinal-designate Di Nardo is that he is an outstanding person. I was not surprised that Archbishop DiNardo, who was at home in Pittsburgh when Bishop Zubik was installed, will be a Cardinal. He will be the first Cardinal from the American South.

  11. RBrown says:

    1. The idea of non Cardinals heading Vatican Congregations strikes me as nutty. Those Congregations have episcopal consultors, about 25% of which are Cardinals. It would be organizational suicide to have non Cardinals heading the Congregations. It would be like placing a 2 star general between a 4 star general and the Sec Def.

    2. The Cardinals are the pope’s principal advisers. It would make no sense to have the prefects of the Congregations, by definition papal advisers, not be Cardinals.

    3. Those sees which have Cardinals generally are in some way or another influential. But influence is not merely a matter of Catholic population, e.g., Washington DC.

    4. It looks to me as if the Red Hat that was in St Louis until 1980 has been moved to Houston.

  12. dcs says:

    Joe writes:
    I was surprised that Archbishop Wuerl did not receive the red hat, though I suspect he will soon receive one. The Washington Archdiocese is traditionally led by a Cardinal.

    Only since 1967, hardly a tradition. ;-)

    I asked someone at St. Paul Cathedral Thursday evening about it and I was told that Wuerl did not receive one yet because Cardinal McCarrick is still with us. However, Cardinal Rigali received the red hat while Cardinal Bevilacqua is still with us as well.

    The difference is that Card. McCarrick is still under 80 years of age.

  13. Han says:

    It seems to me that all the Cardinals (and the Pope for that matter) should be Italians, if not actually Romans. I suppose that it is an ecclesiological issue:

    The Pope has primacy because he is the Bishop of Rome, not because “Pope” us some sort of Ordo Maximus. Cardinals are officials of the Roman Curia–not substitutes for a standing or ad hoc episcopal synod. It therefore makes sense that Cardinals should be Italians, and specifically Romans–just as the clerical staff (in both senses of the word) of the Archdiocese of New York should be Americans, and specifically New Yorkers. The idea that the College of Cardinals should somehow be representative of the world Catholic population is bad ecclesiology. It implicitly creates a new hierarchical order, and founds Papal Primacy on something other than the city of Ss. Peter and Paul.

  14. Joe says:

    Anyone who read Archbishop Diurmuid Martin’s ungracious and
    disgraceful commentary in New York about why the Archbishop of Armagh, Archbishop Brady got it instead of him, will begin to understand why Benedict returned to
    tradition in Ireland.

    I nominate Archbishop Martin for a sour grapes award.

  15. Paul Mac says:

    Don’t let us forget that John Allen has made a project of where the Church is heading, demographically, so naturally – on top of being a democracy-minded American – he is thinking in terms of numbers and “representation”. But as Han points out, the Church is not a democracy. Cardinals are not chosen to represent anyone; they have a representative function only when representing the Pope on some occasion. Benedict XVI is nothing if not shrewd in these matters, and I think we can trust him to know better than us what he is doing.

  16. Jordan Potter says:

    JP said: It’s a modernist heresy to nominate Cardinals from outside the Diocese of Rome, anyway; what does it matter if they’re from Mexico or the Congo?

    Sorry, I must have accidentally skipped over those parts of Pascendi and Lamentabili that fulminate against the nomination of Cardinals from outside the Diocese of Rome. Who knew Modernism first reared its ugly head in the Middle Ages?

    Alex said: Still the most promising faction in the Church is forgotten: I have not yet seen Bernard Fellay named a Cardinal-Presbyter.

    I’m pretty sure that there’s a rule somewhere that you have to be a Catholic in good standing with the Church (i.e., not excommunicated) in order to become a Cardinal.

  17. pattif says:

    The hypothesis that cardinals should be representative of the geographical location from which they come is nonsense. If you carry that argument to its logical conclusion you end up with an argument that 50% of the Catholic population is unrepresented in the College of Cardinalsbecause there are no women (yawn).

    Nor do I think it correct to see the College of Cardinals analagous to a governing body; that role falls to the College of Bishops, surely. It looks as if Il Papa intends to use the College of Cardinals in a more actively advisory role (by convening it annually, for example); that being the case, it surely makes sense for him to nominate those whose advice he values most.

    As others have mentioned, the problem starts with the appointment of bishops. While the existing “golf club rules” (the Nuncio consults existing bishops within a Conference as well as “leading laity” – presumably nominated by the existing bishops – and presents the terna in the light of these soundings) it will be extremely dificult for candidates who are not ideologically identical to the existing membership ever to come to the notice of the Holy Father, never mind attain preferment.

  18. Diane says:

    I would also like to point out that these futuristic demographic models, with regards to the US, is based on current number of children per family, which is quite low.

    I don’t know about anyone else’s quarter of the US, but in mind, families are booming – not just Catholic. Young people are marrying earlier, they are have kids younger, and they are choosing to have many. This isn’t Grotto I’m talking about where we have many families with 6, 10+ kids. Even at my secular job there are pregnant young women all over the place. Just 15 years ago when I hired in, I was lucky to see one pregnant woman every other year.

    Kids are in and I think if we look back in the year 2050, people will laugh at how low the estimate was.

  19. nina says:

    Here’s an area where breaking with tradtion may be a good thing (I’m not talking about the idea floated earlier about making Mother Teresa a cardinal)

    In the USA, general speaking, the closer the diocese is to salt water: the screwier the bishop. So why restrict red hats to historic sees. Wouldn’t it be sweet to see Archbishop Baloney of LA in his 20th year w/o a red hat? And if a cardinal in Houston is refreshing, why not Rockford, Lincoln or Kansas City?

    That’s not to say all of the historic sees have bad candidates. O’Brien will probably get his after he acclimates to civilian life. He did, afterall, do an excellent job cleaning up the seminaries. Although at the Josephinum, it was all just a big show and they knew about the visit in advance.

  20. Joe says:

    DCS writes:
    Only since 1967, hardly a tradition. ;-)
    In the USA, 40 years is a tradition.
    and,
    The difference is that Card. McCarrick is still under 80 years of age.
    Thank you.

    O’Brien and Wuerl will eventually receive the red hat. Burke should. We’ll have to wait and see.

  21. Scott Smith says:

    I have joked to some that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI should have all the US Cardinals assemble in St. Louis, since it is a central place. Then he should have all of them stand in a circle, vested in choir dress, in the middle of the presbyterium of the New Cathedral and, during a brief address about the dignity of the cardinalate, he should walk by each of them and take off their red birettas one by one. As he is doing so, Archbishop Burk should walk in, with cappa magna, (held in his arms not trailing since he’s in the presence of the Pope) to receive one of the collected birettas. The final words of the Pope could then be, “Your Eminence, here too are the rest, distribute them as you see fit.”

    What are these times we live in? The Vocation Crisis is at so many levels. Do we pray for good and holy men to answer the call? Do we pray for those who have been ordained to answer the call to be good and holy? It seems that the Holy See is having a difficult time finding a man to be the Bishop of Little Rock, Arkansas. Perhaps we will get one that will be holy in his obedience to the manifest mind and will of the Holy Father.

    As to Cardinals: the most important thing a Cardinal will ever do in addition to his duties of advising the Pope and running a diocese or congregation, is the act of electing the next Pope or becoming the next Pope.

    So it seems to me that the only thing to decide is who to make a Cardinal, not where he should make a Cardinal.

  22. nina says:

    And tell “Cardinal Sean” to take off those damn red sandals!