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Cardinal Stafford turns 80; 120 papal electors remain

July 26, 2012

Cardinal James Francis Stafford, the retired head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, celebrated his 80th birthday on July 26, becoming ineligible to vote in a papal election.

There are now 120 cardinals who are eligible to take part in a papal conclave. Barring deaths among the cardinal-electors, that number will slip to 114 by the end of this calendar year, and to 108 in the next 12 months, creating the possibility of a new conclave, and the appointment of new cardinals, in late 2013 or early 2014.

An American native, Cardinal Stafford was ordained to the priesthood in Baltimore, and became auxiliary bishop there in 1976. He was appointed Bishop of Memphis, Tennessee, in 1982, and Archbishop of Denver in 1986. After hosting World Youth Day in Denver he was named president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in 1996, and major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary in 2003. He retired in 2009 at the age of 76. He was raised to the College of Cardinals in 1998 by Pope John Paul II.


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