Action Alert!

more arguments for a consistory

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 16, 2010

The indispensable Catholic Hierarchy site has posted a few graphs that help to illustrate why most Vatican-watchers expect Pope Benedict to call a consistory, and name new cardinals, sometime in the very near future.

Today the number of cardinal-electors is headed toward the lowest figure it has reached since the early years of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. The average age of those cardinal-electors is headed toward the all-time highs of the late 1960s.

The aging of the cardinal-electors means that there will be still more turnover in the near future, when the huge cohorts of cardinals elevated by John Paul II reach the age of 80 and become ineligible to vote in a papal conclave. Nearly half of the cardinals who are eligible electors today will drop off that list within the next 5 years.   

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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