Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February
December 11, 2014
Pope Francis has called a consistory for February 2015, at which he will elevate new members to the College of Cardinals.
The consistory will be held on February 14 and 15. The names of the new cardinals have not been revealed. Traditionally the Vatican identifies the prelates who will receive red hats about a month before the consistory takes place.
There are currently 208 living members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 112 are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a papal election. Pope John Paul II set the upper limit of cardinal-electors at 120, although a Pontiff can (and John Paul II did) choose to exceed that number.
Two cardinal-electors-- Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, the retired head of the Vatican City governorate, and Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja of Jakarta—will celebrate their 80th birthdays before the February consistory. Two others—Coptic Catholic Patriarch Antonios Naguib and Cardinal Justin Rigali, the retired Archbishop of Philadelphia—will turn 80 in the two months after the consistory. So Pope Francis could name 10 new cardinal-electors without breaking the upper limit, or 12 if he chooses to exceed the limit for a few weeks.
The Pope is also likely to follow what has become a regular practice by giving red hats to a few prelates who are already over the age of 80, in recognition of their service to the Church. These prelates would not be eligible to participate in a papal conclave, but could join in any other consistories of cardinals, including the congregations held before a conclave.
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