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Pope to appoint new cardinals at February 2014 consistory?

Catholic World News - October 30, 2013

Pope Francis will call a consistory for February 2014 to name new cardinals, a Vatican news agency reports.

The respected I-Media agency reports that the Pope will call a consistory for next February 21 and 22. Before bestowing red hats on a new group of cardinals, he will meet with the entire College of Cardinals to discuss his plans for Vatican reforms, the agency reports.

The Vatican has not commented on the report. If the I-Media report is accurate, the Pope would probably reveal the names of the new cardinals several weeks before the consistory.

If a consistory is called, the Pope would be most likely to award red hats to several Vatican officials who occupy posts traditionally held by cardinals: most notably Archbishops Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State; Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Beniaminio Stella, the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.

Pope Francis, who has shown a strong preference for decentralization of Church authority, may choose to name the leaders of major archdioceses, rather than Vatican officials, for most of the available spots in the College of Cardinals. In making his first choices, the Pontiff will be showing his criteria for the selection of cardinals.

There are currently 109 cardinals who are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a papal conclave. With 3 cardinals due to celebrate their 80th birthdays in the coming weeks, that number will drop to 106 in February, allowing for the selection of 14 new cardinal-electors under the 120-elector limit set by Pope Paul VI. However, the Pope has the authority to waive that limit, and/or to name cardinals who are over the age of 80.

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  • Posted by: patmitchell1846 - Oct. 30, 2013 8:04 PM ET USA

    I hope/pray that one of the new Cardinals will be Archbishop Chaput.

  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Oct. 30, 2013 10:57 AM ET USA

    The Church is "walking on eggshells" to see where this Pope will go. He has been sending out strange signals and just who he names as Cardinals will go a long way toward interpreting what his message happens to be.

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