Pope Francis plans to create new cardinals in February

Pope Francis plans to create new cardinals in February

Cardinals pray together at the most recent consistory, held Feb. 22, 2014. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.
Cardinals pray together at the most recent consistory, held Feb. 22, 2014. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.

.- Pope Francis will hold a consistory for the creation of new cardinals Feb. 14-15, 2015, the Holy See press officer announced Thursday, adding that the consistory will follow meetings on the reform of the Roman Curia.

“I have had papal authorization to say that there will be an extraordinary consistory Feb. 14-15, and he will likely create new cardinals during that consistory,” Fr. Federico Lombardi said at a Dec. 11 press conference.

Fr. Lombardi spoke during a briefing with media at the end of the Council of Cardinals that met in the Vatican Dec. 9 – 11.

During the briefing, Fr. Lombardi provided the schedule of the next round of meetings: on Feb. 6-8 there will be a plenary assembly of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, presided by Cardinal Sean O’Malley; on Feb. 9-11, the seventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place; on Feb. 12-13 the Pope will convoke an ordinary consistory that should be intended to share views and opinions about the ongoing process of curial reform; and finally, on Feb. 14-15 there will be an extraordinary consistory during which the Pope will likely create new cardinals.

According to Universi Dominici Gregis, St. John Paul II's apostolic constitution governing conclaves, the maximum number of cardinal electors must not exceed 120, and the age limit to take part to a conclave is set at 80.

When Pope Francis will hold the consistory, there will be 110 voting cardinals; in June, three cardinals will turn 80, and so there will be 107 voting cardinals; and by November, there will be 105 voting cardinals.

In the course of the next year, Pope Francis will thus have the option of creating 15 voting cardinals.

In his first consistory, held Feb. 22, Pope Francis created 16 voting cardinals, and three non-voting.