Number of cardinals eligible to vote for Pope drops
Vatican City, Dec 18, 2009 / 04:05 pm (CNA).- Vatican Radio reported today that yet another cardinal has reached the age of retirement. Cardinal Jozef Glemp, Archbishop-emeritus of Warsaw, turned 80 on Friday and is thus ineligible to vote for the next Pope as a member of the College of Cardinals.
When cardinals reach this ‘ceiling’ age their vote is no longer considered in the election of a new Pope by the College of Cardinals. This decision was laid out in the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis” of 1996, in which John Paul II reinforced the decision of Pope Paul VI to forbid the vote of a cardinal of 80 years of age or more.
"The reason for this provision is the desire not to add to the weight of such a venerable age the further burden of responsibility for choosing the one who will have to lead Christ’s flock in ways adapted to the needs of the times," the Apostolic Constitution reads.
At the same time, the document notes that "This does not however mean that the Cardinals over eighty years of age cannot take part in the preparatory meetings of the Conclave… ."
Cardinal Glemp’s retirement brings the total number of cardinals eligible to vote in elections to 112 and those ineligible for voting to the number 73. There are 185 living cardinals as of Dec. 18.
Vatican Radio also included the statistic that of the eight Polish cardinals, five of them are over 80 years old.