by Anura Guruge
Please also refer to this post for more background on Catholics worldwide.
Total cardinal and cardinal elector numbers used here include the 24 cardinal presumptives named
for the November 20, 2010 consistory.
This cardinal elector representation by country is something that interest ME at a purely personal level maybe because I have some egalitarian tendencies, and believe that ‘all pigs should be equal, though some make better chops than others.’
I fully understand, having written most words about this than most, that it is the total prerogative of a pope as to who he creates a cardinal. There has never been an official position that there will ever be equitable representation, all that John XXIII (#262), in 1958, stated, when he shattered Sixtus V’s (#228) ‘max 70‘ rule that had stood since 1586 was that he wanted more diversity. That we sure have as you can see from my second chart — a fragment of yet another Excel spreadsheet I have, this showing the demographics of the last 10 conclaves. To be honest I am surprised we don’t have more Polish and German cardinals. That Italy should have more is understandable given the history of the papacy — and the pope is THE Bishop of Rome. The over-representation of the USA is also easy understand and rationalize. US cardinals help keep the coffers topped-up — and from the very early days it was understood by all that cardinals were supposed to help with revenue generation. [Maybe the US cardinals should start wearing bright green.]