Nov 122010

by Anura Guruge

Includes those that will be created cardinals at the November 20, 2010 consistory.

Canons 354 (for cardinals that head up dicasteries or other permanent Vatican institutes) and Canon 401 (for diocesan bishops independent of being a cardinal) of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, set a retirement age of 75.

Cardinals who are members of dicasteries or other permanent Vatican institutes are expected to retire when they turn 80.

These retirement ages were implemented by Paul VI (#263), in 1970, via his pivotal, far-reaching Ingravescentem aetatem motu proprio, the one that also specified that cardinals over the age of 80 would cease to be papal electors. [Per Paul VI the 80 year cut-off was at the point of entry to the conclave. John Paul II (#265), in his 1996 Universi Dominici Gregis, changed this so that you had to be under 80 on the day prior to when the sede vacante started. John Paul II’s ruling, as I explain in detail on page 59 of my ‘The Next Pope‘ book, is more sensible since the start date of the conclave can be manipulated by the cardinals — thus permitting or excluding a cardinal on the cusp.]

Though prelates when they turn 75 (or 80) are expected to tender ‘intent to retire’ to the pope, the pope, as ever (and as noted in the Canons), has total discretion as to when he accepts the retirement. Typically the retirement is not accepted and announced until a suitable replacement is ready to be unveiled. To this end, do not forget that the current pope, Benedict XVI (#266), at 78, was still the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith when elected pope. [He is the only over-75 pope elected since Paul VI’s 1970 ruling on retirements and cardinal elector ‘cut-off.’]

52 of the expected 121 cardinal electors — following the November 20, 2010 consistory — will be past 75; i.e., 42.9%.
On Nov. 20, 2010, the average age of the 203 cardinals in the College will be 77.4 years, while that of the 121 electors will be 71.2 years. [The average age of the non-electors will be 85.3 years.]

Of the 52, 31 are retired (emeritus). 21 are still active. Being retired does not rule one from not being a papabili, though it does, without doubt, diminish (by some amount) the odds.

Here are the two lists, first the 31 who are retired and then the 21 who are past retirement age.

Retired Cardinal Electors by Anura Guruge

Retired Cardinal Electors. Click to ENLARGE.

Cardinal Electors past reirement age by Anura Guruge

Cardinal Electors past reirement age. Click to ENLARGE.

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