by Anura Guruge
The day after Italian Paolo Sardi was named as a presumptive cardinal, i.e., on October 21, 2010, I pointed out that the Vice-Camerlengo, by tradition, is not a cardinal and that the new cardinal will have to be relieved of this title.
Here is the October 21 post with all the details. The key reason for the Vice-Camerlengo not being a cardinal (or at least a cardinal elector) is that one of his duties is to guard the ‘sealed’ door to the conclave — from the outside.
I (and others) had expected that he would resign his post as soon as he was created. Well, that didn’t happen, but today it was announced that Cardinal Sardi is no longer the Vice-Camerlengo, and that 75-year old, Spanish Santos Abril y Castelló, titular archbishop of Tamada (Algeria), a long-time apostolic nuncio (most recently to Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina but since retired), will be the new Vice-Camerlengo. Though it was not stated in the Vatican announcement, it is conceivable that the Archbishop could continue to be an ad hoc nuncio as well, if there is need. Curiously, the Vatican stated that he was being appointed for a 3 year term. Typically such term-limits are never disclosed. This might have to do with the Archbishop’s age — though a Vice-Camerlengo, since he will not be participating any conclaves (by definition), could continue to serve past 80.
Cardinal Sardi, a second-tier papabile, will continue as the Patron of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.
All the best.