by Anura Guruge
(Revised March 24, 2011)
Today is the first full day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and we have yet to have a cardinal pass away in 2011. That is unusual.
We have to go back to 2003 to find a year when the first death was later in the year, in this instance the disgraced Austrian Hans Hermann Groër on March 24, 2003.
1953 (the year of my birth) stand out when it comes to cardinal deaths as of 1900.
No cardinals died in 1953.
The last cardinal to die was 80 year old Italian Italian cardinal priest, Michele Giordano, on December 2, 2010.
I did some quick research and analysis of cardinal deaths as of January 1, 2005 — that being the year that the current pope began his reign. Since 2005, with the exception of 2008 (when the first death was on March 6), we would have a death of a cardinal in January. The average for that period is of the first cardinal for the year dying by the 20th of January.
Between 2005 and 2010 the average number of cardinals dying per year was 7.5, with 5 in 2005 and 10 in 2007. Here is a chart of the number of cardinals to die each year between 2005 and 2010, the numbers being: 5, 8, 10, 8, 8, 6.
Since 2005, on average, we have had a cardinal dying every 49 days.
It has now been 110 days since the last — so over twice the norm.