The College of Cardinals is the group closest to the Pope’s assistants, made up of all the cardinals of the Catholic Church. This Saturday, August 27, Pope Francis will create 20 new cardinals, bringing the college to a total of 229.
But not all 229 can elect the next Pope.
Pope Saint Paul VI established in 1970 that cardinals over 80 years of age cannot participate in the process of electing a pope; therefore, only cardinals under the age of 80 are referred to as “electors”.
Paul VI also set a limit for the number of electors: 120.
At his extraordinary consistory on Saturday, August 27, a gathering of all the world’s cardinals, Pope Francis will create 16 new cardinal-electors, bringing the total number of these cardinals to 132, who will elect the next pope at a future conclave.
The Holy Father will also create four new cardinals who have already passed the age of 80.
Six of the cardinal electors will turn 80 at the end of 2022; two of which will be fulfilled at the end of September.
The Europeans will be a total of 53 cardinal electors after the consistory, the region that will have the most cardinals.
Italy will have the most cardinals at 47, and the most cardinal electors at 20.
Other regions of the world have also been gaining ground, led by the Asia-Pacific region, whose overall representation of cardinal electors increased from 9% in 2013 to 17% in 2022, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
Sub-Saharan Africa is also on the rise with voters, going from 9% to 12%. Latin America and the Caribbean have seen a more modest increase, from 16% to 18%.
At the end of the consistory, 63% of the College of Cardinals will have been appointed by Pope Francis, and the rest by Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
John Paul II and Benedict XVI, as well as Pope John Paul I, were created cardinals by Paul VI.
Benedict XVI is the only surviving cardinal created by him.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI returned to the long-standing tradition that requires a two-thirds majority to elect a pope. Saint John Paul II had allowed a simple majority for a valid election in the event of a prolonged deadlock.
Translated and adapted by Walter Sánchez Silva. Originally posted on CNA.