By the end of the year, there will be just 114 cardinals eligible to vote in a conclave. For this reason, it seemed more likely that the Pope was going to convoke a consistory in November, rather than in June. It seems now that Pope Francis will anticipate time.
As per June 29, there will be 57 voting cardinals created by Pope Francis, 44 created by Benedict XVI and 19 created by St. John Paul II. Pope Francis has then created a little more than 47 % of voting cardinals.
This quota will increase, and Pope Francis will give its final imprint to the college of Cardinals.
Will Pope Francis follow the traditional criteria in delivering the red birettas? Nobody knows.
In general, there are just a few dioceses that are traditionally a cardinalatial seat with a Cardinal Archbishop (there are exceptions, like Barcelona). On the other hand, some dioceses and countries were granted red birretta because of their particular situation.
The main question is whether Pope Francis will give the red hat to Archbishop Wilton Gregory, just appointed at the helm of the Archdiocese of Washington, and to Archbishop José Gomez, who leads the Archdiocese of Los Angeles since 2011.
If custom would be followed, Archbishop Gomez should get it, as his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, is 83 and so he is not eligible to vote in a conclave anymore. On the other hand, Archbishop Gregory should wait for 2020, when his predecessor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, will turn 80. It is generally preferred not to have the same archdiocese represented by two cardinals in a conclave.
But Pope Francis' consistories have never been customary.
Pope Francis celebrated an average of one consistory per year. After five consistories, there are 87 countries represented in the conclave, following the rationale that all the possible geographic areas need to be represented.
It is speculated that Pope Francis might also formally expand the maximum limit of voting Cardinals in a conclave.
Paul VI set the limit to 120 voting Cardinals, but the limit was not mandatory. John Paul II exceeded this limit, and also Pope Francis did. Now, Pope Francis could institutionalize the decision to expand the maximum limit to 130 or 140 voting cardinals.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The consistory and the new composition of the college of cardinals must be considered along with Curia reform.
According to the Spanish magazine Vida Nueva, Pope Francis might sign on June 29 the new apostolic constitution that regulates functions and tasks of Curia offices.
The new constitution is title Praedicate Evangelium, “Preach the Gospel.” Other sources confirmed to CNA that the Pope is willing to sign the new constitution on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul.
For this reason, dicasteries and bishops conferences who received the draft were asked to give a feedback within May.
Feedbacks will be then discussed and harmonized in the new constitution by Bishop Marco Mellino, adjunct secretary to the Council of Cardinals.
According to Vida Nueva, the new constitution is going to create a super- Vatican dicastery on Evangelization.