The pope, Benedict XVI (#266), today, October 20, 2010, announced 20, who given that they are under 80, will be named as cardinal-electors at the Saturday, November 20, 2010 cardinal creating consistory.
This is how these 20 were portrayed by the Vatican Information Service: ‘Twenty of the new cardinals, being under the age of eighty, will be electors.’
Well, that is NOT actually the case. For these 20 to be cardinal electors, one of the current cardinal electors has to die prior to the consistory!
That is the issue. Hence, the impression that the pope is playing God.
> Right now we are at 102 electors, i.e., 18 slots short of the 120 cardinal elector limit imposed by Paul VI (#263) and confirmed in clause #33 of John Paul II‘s Universi Dominci Gregis Apostolic Constitution.
Please read << this >> if you need more background on the 120 limit (and issue).
> On November 14, 2010, Jānis Pujats, will turn 80 and cease to be an elector. That gives us 19 slots. Hence, why there was talk of the TOP 19 cardinalabili.
> If a current cardinal elector does NOT die before the consistory we will end up with 121 electors.
Yes, under John Paul II (#265) we have had more than 120; following his February 2001 consistory we had 128 electors and following his October 2003 consistory 135. [That he created 121 at his very first consistory in June 1979 is not true, because one name was in pectore and as such did not count.]
But, that was then and this is now.
Here are the issues as it relates to this pope and this consistory:
1. When announcing his very first consistory on February 27, 2006, this pope, Benedict XVI said:
Do a Google on this announcement and consistory. This statement by the pope was interpreted and reported by most as the pope indicating that he, unlike his esteemed predecessor, will not exceed Paul VI’s 120.
2. In his other two consistories this pope did NOT exceed 120.
3. If a pope is going to exceed the 120, as John Paul II did, then there is little point doing so by just one ESPECIALLY WHEN 6 more slots will open up before Easter 2011. So rather than 121, 126 would have been better.
4. At his last consistory, i.e., November 25, 2007, this pope did the SAME THING … and now we know how and why. Which is WHY this time around it looks unsavory. The November 24, 2007 consistory was announced on October 17, 2007. He named 18 prospective cardinals. That would have resulted in 121 electors. But, Japanese cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao died, of lung cancer, on November 8, 2007. This ensured that there were only 120 electors after the consistory. We now know, that Cardinal Hamao met privately with Benedict XVI on October 9, 2007 and appraised him of his medical condition! The consistory announcement was made 8 days later and one cannot but assume that the pope factored this in. That is the problem.
All indications are that we have a similar situation, i.e., the pope is aware that there is a very ill cardinal who is likely to be gone before the consistory — thus giving him that one additional slot.
The question: should the pope exploit such a situation?
What happens if there is a miracle? The pope now has 121 cardinal electors …
What about the Church standing on the sanctity of life? Here we are being somewhat callous about the life of a cardinal.
I do not get it.
If we do end up with 120 cardinals after the consistory because a cardinal elector dies prior to that … I would be dismayed.
Yes, there are HUGE problems with this artificial, unnecessary 120 limit and we have at least 4 posts here about ways to deal with it.
But, for the pope to play God …
Please also read a comment along these lines, today, on this blog, by my friend Marko B. of Croatia.
Please scroll down for all the RELATED posts on the 24 new cardinals that will be created at the Saturday, November 20, 2010 consistory — Consistory 2010.