Posted February 22, 2006
Comparing the Observations of John Allen of The National Catholic Reporter
and The Catholic News Service on the Possibility of New Cardinals soon
John Allen in Rome Reporting
on the Appointment of New Cardinals
It looks increasingly like a consistory may be held on March 25, the Feast
of the Annunciation. Word is that it will be a small consistory, as Benedict
XVI wants to stay as close to the "ceiling" of 120 cardinals under the age
of 80 as possible. As of today, there are 110 cardinals under 80, but
between now and March 25, Cardinal Bernard Agré of the Ivory Coast and Irish
Cardinal Desmond O'Connell will celebrate their 80th birthdays, leaving a
total of 108.
Announcement of the consistory could be made as early as Pope Benedict's
Wednesday Audience on Feb. 22.
While cardinals are personal appointments of the pope, and therefore
Benedict XVI can name anyone he wants, those candidates commonly reckoned as
probable include the following:
Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, Krakow, Poland
Archbishop Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Toledo, Spain
Archbishop André Armand Vingt-Trois, Paris, France
Archbishop Carlo Caffarra, Bologna, Italy
Archbishop William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of
Archbishop Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for Religious
Archbishop Stanislao Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the
Archbishop Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica and Vicar
General for the Vatican City-State
Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, President of Cor Unum
Archbishop Agostino Vallini, Prefect of the Apostolic Segnatura
The star will be Dzwisz, especially given that the event will probably fall
just a few days short of the first anniversary of the death of John Paul II,
whom Dzwisz served as private secretary.
This list leaves at least two additional spots for candidates "on the
bubble." Different observers assess their chances in varying ways, but
commonly mentioned possibilities include the following:
Archbishop Diarmiud Martin, Dublin, Ireland
Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Hong Kong, China
Archbishop Sean O'Malley, Boston, United States
Archbishop Lluís Martínez Sistach, Barcelona, Spain
Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz, Brasilia, Brazil
Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Aparecida, Brazil
Archbishop Raúl Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, Quito, Ecuador
Archbishop Gaudencio Borbon Rosales, Manila, Philippines
Asian news sources have already cited "Vatican sources" to the effect that
Zen's nomination is all but assured.
Foley is a sentimental favorite. Now 70, Foley arrived in Rome in 1984, and
ever since has earned a reputation as one of the kindest and most gregarious
people in the Vatican. He is a widely sought after speaker, in part because
with his gentleness and good humor he puts a positive face on Catholic
Over the years, Foley has been rumored as a candidate for various American
dioceses, or for other curial appointments, but instead has remained in
place. The argument for making him a cardinal this time would be as a
tribute to his decades of loyal, steady service -- an argument which may cut
ice with Benedict XVI, a man with experience of staying put in a Vatican
The difficulty is that there are already a disproportionate number of
American cardinals -- 13 all told, including 11 electors. The United States
is the fourth largest Catholic country in the world, yet it has the largest
block of cardinals after the Italians. The Americans have more electors than
the Brazilians, Mexicans and Filipinos combined -- a block that represents
over 30 percent of the Catholic population on earth. Hence it will be
difficult to argue that the Americans merit two or three additional
cardinals, and one American is already certain to be named -- Levada.
I ran into an Italian prelate recently, who asked me about the possibility
of a consistory, and then ventured an opinion.
"I hope there aren't any more American cardinals," he said. "There are too
That view is fairly widely held, and complicates consideration of any
American candidate, Foley included.
The Catholic News Service
New cardinals? Rome buzzes with excitement as rumors fly
By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) Sometime this year -- perhaps as early as March -- Pope
Benedict XVI is expected to create his first batch of cardinals, a prospect
that has already generated a buzz of excitement in Rome.
Vatican observers, especially journalists, tend to get overagitated when it
comes to new cardinals. Since last summer, there have been at least three
false alarms about impending consistories.
The current rumor is that the pope is preparing to name new cardinals in
late February and invest them in late March. Holding a consistory during
Lent would be unusual but not without precedent; Pope John XXIII did so
twice in the 1960s.
The appointment of new cardinals is seen as a leading indicator of any
papacy, but it's important to remember that, whenever Pope Benedict
announces his choices, it will be a list that he has inherited in large part
from his predecessor.
Of the 20 or so prelates most frequently mentioned as likely cardinal
appointees, all but two were put in line for the red hat by Pope John Paul
II. One of those two is Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, the
late pope's personal secretary, who in a sense will also be seen as a Pope
John Paul selection.
Only U.S. Archbishop William J. Levada, head of the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith, is considered a Pope Benedict appointee in this
"likely cardinal" list.
Archbishop Levada is one of three Roman Curia officials virtually certain to
be named cardinal. The others are Slovenian Archbishop Franc Rode, head of
the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of
Apostolic Life, and Italian Archbishop Agostino Vallini, head of the Supreme
Court of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican's highest tribunal.
Other Roman Curia possibilities include German Archbishop Paul Cordes, head
of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum; U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley, head of
the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; and Polish Archbishop
Stanislaw Rylko, head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
From the archdioceses around the world, potential cardinals include
Archbishop Guadencio Rosales of Manila, Philippines; Archbishop Diarmuid
Martin of Dublin, Ireland; French Archbishops Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris and
Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux; Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy;
Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley of Boston; Archbishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong
Kong; Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi, Vietnam; Archbishop Raphael
Ndingi Mwana'a Nzeki of Nairobi, Kenya; and Spanish Archbishop Antonio
Canizares Llovera of Toledo.
Others occasionally mentioned in the cardinal sweepstakes are archbishops
from Monterrey, Mexico; Dakar, Senegal; Brasilia, Brazil; and Barcelona,
There are a number of things to watch for when the list is announced:
-- The numbers. There are currently 178 cardinals, of whom 110 are under age
80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. Two more cardinals turn 80
before March 25, the rumored date of the consistory.
The technical limit on the number of voting-age cardinals is 120. That means
that if the pope respects that ceiling, he could name 12 new ones. The wild
card factor is that Pope John Paul set aside the 120 limit more than once,
swelling the ranks to as many as 135 under-80 cardinals. Pope Benedict, as
supreme legislator, can also derogate, or suspend, this rule, but opinions
are divided over whether he will do so.
-- The mix. If he wanted to, the pope could fill half the cardinal vacancies
with Roman Curia officials. But the trend under Pope John Paul was toward
more archdiocesan cardinals, and not always from places that were
traditional cardinal sees.
People also will be looking carefully at the geographic distribution, to see
if Pope Benedict continues his predecessor's wider distribution of red hats
in the Third World.
-- The over-80 cardinals. Popes often have named one or two elderly
cardinals as a sign of respect or appreciation. Often, they have been
nonbishop theologians. Given the pope's background in dealing with Catholic
theologians, there is great interest in his potential choices.
One rumor reported by The Times of London in early January was that the
pope's over-80 cardinal nominations might include Msgr. Graham Leonard, a
former Anglican bishop of London who was ordained a Catholic priest in 1994.
If that happens, beyond the ecumenical implications, the College of
Cardinals would have its first married member in several centuries.
Whenever it happens, Pope Benedict's first consistory will also offer clues
about how he intends to use the College of Cardinals during his papacy. Pope
John Paul turned to the cardinals several times for advice, convening them
in Rome for discussions on such topics as church finances, anti-abortion
strategies and pastoral goals for the new millennium.
Given that Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, helped plan and
preside over some of these "extraordinary consistories," many expect him to
keep up this type of consultation.
As he looks ahead, the pope no doubt realizes that putting a personal stamp
on the College of Cardinals is a long process. During his 26-year papacy,
Pope John Paul called nine consistories to create 231 cardinals; in the end,
he had named all but two of the 115 cardinals who elected his successor.