The 15 Cardinal Elector Designates For February 2015 Consistory — Pope Francis Revels In His Unpredictability.
by Anura Guruge
Some Related posts:
>> Vatican III?
>> Camerlengo, Jean-Louis Tauran.
>> February 2015 consistory.
>> Pope plans to reorganize Holy See.
>> Francis and Ratzinger at consistory.
>> 19 cardinal designates for 2014.
>> 2014 cardinalabili list.
The 15 under-80, Cardinal Elector Designates Named.
Pope Francis has done IT again. Said out to perplex the average Catholic. That really has become his trademark. Shock Jock. That is what this pope has become: the Shock Jock Pope. A cross between Howard Stern and John McCain. Revels in being a maverick for the sake of being a maverick. So I wasn’t much surprised by his list.
What I am, however, livid about is that he has named 15, yes, fifteen, under-80 cardinal electors. Barring any deaths this means that following the cardinal creating consistory, on February 14, 2015, there will be 125 cardinal electors. That is five more than the 120 currently permitted from participating in a conclave — if one was to take place. There are no rules, nor a precedent, as yet, to say which cardinals will have to stand down so that the 120 limit is not violated. Again, I did, as you can see above, predict that this pope, the shock jock, will go beyond the 120 — BUT I never expected him to go 5 above.
That he went 5 above is very significant and scary. Again, barring deaths, we will not have 5 existing electors aging out till February 27, 2016. That is MORE than a year after the consistory. That means that for all of 2015 we will have more than the permitted quota of 120 cardinal electors. Maybe the pope, given his connections, is aware that some of the under 80 cardinals are on borrowed time! I am sure that some cardinals are no longer sleeping that well.
I have in my ‘popes and papacy’ blog railed, multiple times, about popes going over the limit. It is an arrogant and unprincipled affectation. They are breaking the law. This is what bugs me even more. The pope can easily, with one simple utterance, rectify and normalize the whole sorry situation. All her has to say is that the new limit for cardinal electors at conclaves is 125 or 130 or to be on the safe side 140. He has all the power and the right to do so. But here is the rub. For all is desire to shock I don’t think that this pope has a full or firm grasp of the protocols of the papacy! He, an old man to be fair, probably doesn’t fully appreciate the significance of the 120 limit.
Unless he has had an explicit assurance from his boss to the contrary, I would not totally rule out the possibility of a conclave in the next 12 months. So I really hope this pope knows what he is doing, other than revelling in his ability to shock and perplex.
As for the 15 he nominated, I really have no strong feelings one way or another. I am not a Catholic; never was and never will be. So as to who the cardinals are don’t really impact be other than their significance come the ‘Next Pope’ — and that, i.e., the ‘Next Pope’ is really my main interest. That he has created so many from Asia is interesting. Myanmar (Burma), like Sri Lanka, is a predominantly Buddhist country, at 80% the majority even greater than the 70% in Sri Lanka. Only 2% of the population is Catholic. The Buddhists in Burma are even more extreme than those in Sri Lanka! The pope’s action will incite them. The pope might have not done the Catholics in Burma any favors.
Only about 7% of the total population of Vietnam is Catholic. Tonga has a population of less than 110,000. Yes, 110,000. Most U.S. cities have more people. Of those only about 15% are Catholic. So a cardinal for 16,500 people. The population of Cape Verde is around 520,000; albeit with the majority Catholic.
That the curia was snubbed is not good. He is just driving a thicker and thicker wedge between himself and the curia — and in the end he still needs the curia to get his work done.
Europeans and Americans, in the end, will not be happy. They did not really get much of a looking. Animosity against this pope is mounting and that is before he UNWISELY steps into the climate change fray.
All in all, the bottom line for ME, is that the pope has become a confirmed Shock Jock. The Howard Stern of popes. It is going to be an interesting year. Stay tuned. I have a feeling that this pope will keep me busy.