by Anura Guruge
On Wednesday, February 21, 2001, John Paul II (#265), held his 8th cardinal-creating consistory [the last but one of his 9 cardinal-creating consistories]. It was on the exact 3-year anniversary of his prior one, in 1998.
The six remaining cardinal deacons created at this consistory, viz. Cardinals Agostino Cacciavillan, Sergio Sebastiani, Zenon Grocholewski, Jorge María Mejía, Wally Kasper & Roberto Tucci, will be eligible for jus optionis promotion to the order of cardinal priests as of February 21, 2011. [Refer to this post on just optionis and this recent one on Cardinal Sepe who was also created at this consistory.] The promotion to the order of cardinal priest is not automatic nor mandatory. Each cardinal deacon, individually, must petition the pope for the promotion. The availability of ‘tituli‘ Roman church titles is not a factor per se. All the cardinal deacons could be promoted with their existing deaconries elevated to cardinal priest ‘titles’ pro hac vice . [Refer to this post for current vacancies and pro hac vice titles in use.] Right now there are 5, possibly 6, unused titles. Plus, the pope can create more — as he did at his last consistory on November 20, 2010. [All six requested promotion and were elevated, pro hac vice, on Monday, February 21, 2011. See new post.]
This February 21, 2001 cardinal-creating consistory, by any measure, was a humdinger. 42 cardinals were created, with a total of 44 named (2 having being created in pectore (in the breast) at the 1998 consistory). This was the LARGEST cardinal-creating consistory ever. Prior to this the largest was Paul VI’s (#263) 3rd consistory on April 28, 1969, at which he created 34. Before that it was Pius XII’s (#261) 1st consistory on February 18, 1946 at which he created 32 — but this was the first cardinal creating consistory in over 8 years!
Immediately following this momentous consistory there were 135 cardinal electors, 15 above the 120 limit — with the total College of Cardinals at 184. That morning, Cardinal Antonio Maria Javierre Orta, had turned 80, thus making room for one elector. Then about 5 hours after the consistory concluded, 81-year old Venezuelan Cardinal José Alí Lebrún Moratinos died, in Venezuela, of cardiac arrest. Thus, within the day, the size of the College was down to 183 — though the electors stayed at 135.
The 42 cardinals created at this consistory were, very atypically, announced in two batches: 37 on Sunday, January 21, 2001, a month ahead of the consistory and 5 on Sunday, January 28, 2001. The two in pectore cardinals were also identified on January 28. Refer to the February 17, 2011 comments by Fr. Peter against this post for more background as to why there was this very unusal second announcement. A number of now familiar names were created at this consistory, including Re, Daoud, Dias, Maradiaga, Napier, Egan, Murphy-O’Connor, Husar, Lehmann, Dulles etc. Nine of the cardinals created at this consistory have since died.
This consistory, somewhat similar to Benedict XVI‘s last consistory, was heavy on curialist — 11 of the 42 (26%). [33% at the Nov. 2010 consistory.] Consequently, there was also a high number of cardinal deacons created — 12 [29%]. (54% at last consistory, which was very unusual.) There were 4 over-80 electors, and one very close to 80. The average age for all 42 was 69.7 years, compared to 72.1 for the last consistory. The youngest cardinal, was Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Opus Dei, at 57. [57 was the youngest at the last consistory too, Reinhard Marx.]
21 of the 42 (50%) cardinals created were from Europe. [15 out of 24, 62.5% at last consistory.] Asia had 3, with India getting 2 of those. [None from the Philippines!] The Americas got 14, 3 from the USA. That Jean Marcel Honoré was created a cardinal priest, though he was past 80, was unusual (though perfectly valid) — and still trip people up, who assume that he must have been a cardinal deacon.
Nine belonged to religious orders, and one was from Opus Dei. 24%. There were only 2 from orders at the last consistory.