Number of Cardinal electors drops to 112

From CNA:

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.

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  1. r7blue1pink says:

    Us native Polish folk do live long lives… My Father who survived the Warsaw uprising and concentration camps is 84 and still kickin’!

  2. boko fittleworth says:

    Out with the old, in with the new. Cui bono?

  3. frater says:

    Couldn’t Pope Benedict do away with the age restriction if he wanted to?

  4. frater: Sure he could.

    BTW… I knew an old Cardinal who referred to the 80 year old age limit law as “ecclesiatical euthanasia”.

  5. Oneros says:

    On the other hand, he could also LOWER the age, if he wanted, to 70, or 65. Same thing with the retirement age for bishops, he could lower the age they have to submit their resignations to 60, and then simply not accept that resignations of those he wanted to stay on, while letting the others retire. An easy way to do the pruning so many around here desire, without explicitly picking on anyone specifically. Yet, I doubt we’ll see it done. One thing bishops (and Catholics in general, I’m afraid) dont do, is think outside the box.

  6. boko fittleworth says:

    But this age limit thing WAS thinking outside the box. Keeping the older folks around promotes continuity. “Ecclesial euthanasia” leads to rupture. Quel coincidence, I too am into insect fear films.

  7. Central Valley says:

    Red hat for Burke soooon.

  8. Melody says:

    Central Valley: On the subject of Burke getting a red hat, Card. Mahony will retire soon. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

  9. trespinos says:

    I’ve changed my view on this. On balance, after watching how well it worked at the 2005 conclave, I think an age 80 limitation is reasonable and justified. Only two of the eligible electors were unable to participate because of illness; if the octagenarians and nonagenarians had been eligible, that number would have been much, much higher. And at present, who here would want Cardinals Martini and Cottier to have a vote restored to them, hmmm? Age is certainly no guarantee of better sense.

  10. trespinos says:

    What the CNA article might also have pointed out is that 2010 will see eleven more cardinals reach age 80, an unusually large number which will emphasize the need for the Holy Father to create a significant new batch of red hats. Among the eleven: Cdl. McCarrick.

  11. JFrater says:

    When I first came to tradition I was concerned that the age restriction would work against tradition – but now I think the opposite is true. It is younger Cardinals who will vote and they are, generally speaking, more likely to be conservative than the oldies.

  12. “ecclesiatical euthanasia”


    Pope Paul VI’s age limit could potentially have had disastrous consequences for the Church as I believe more of the older Cardinals at that time were traditional. But in the end some reasonable Popes still managed to get elected. It is truly a sign of grace that Joseph Ratzinger was elected by a conclave which included folks such as Cardinals Martini, Daneels and Murphy-O’Connor.

    I think the restriction can safely be repealed – but it might be helpful to wait 10-15 years’ time.

    Raymond Burke & Malcolm Ranjith – Cardinali subito!

  13. Do I hear “Cardinal Burke” a’comin’?

  14. irishgirl says:

    ‘Cardinal Burke a’comin’?’ Oh, I hope so, Father Z….I hope so….

  15. Oneros says:

    I agree, the age limit thing works against tradition and continuity in a world where older cardinals are truly traditional. But in the bizarre times we live in, the opposite is true. There is a CERTAIN generation that is untraditional in the Church. So, I say, lower the limit to 70 for the next election, or even 65, but then phase out any limit at all within the next 20 years.

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