Wednesday, May 23, 2018

“Pope Francis” Names 14 New Cardinals

“Pope Francis” has named 14 new Cardinals, 11 of whom are of voting age, and may vote for his “successor” in the event of the death of this current pope. For whom will they vote?

It is said that the Roman Catholic Church thinks in terms of centuries, not in years. So, we might consider that a lot of the bickering back-and forth among the Traditionist, conservative, and progressivist Roman Catholics is just so much tempest in a teapot – a lot of sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing, because it’s “the Church” and especially “the Magisterium”, and especially “the Papal Magisterium” that sets the direction of things.

But that doesn’t mean that the current crop of Church officials won’t have their shorter-term agendas. As I’ve written before, “Pope Francis” is in a kind of horse race now, to have named enough Cardinals of his stripe, to assure the election of another liberal pope once he’s gone. Here’s what that looked like just about a year ago (May 25, 2017):

At the present time, the number of voting totals in the Ratzinger/Wojtyla block is 72 – there is no guarantee that all 72 of those would “vote conservative” in any event (many of them likely voted for Bergoglio in the first place – that’s how he won). On the other hand, the Bergoglio total is 44 now, going up to 49 by June 28. That’s a difference of only 23 in favor of the Ratzinger/Wojtyla side. Fully 30 of the voting-age Cardinals are 75 or older, which means that over the next five years, almost half of the Ratzinger/Wojtyla Cardinals will become ineligible to vote (at age 80).

The liberal-leaning “National Catholic Reporter” has helpfully given us the following tally:

The June 29 ceremony adding the new cardinals will mark the first time in his five-year papacy that Francis has appointed a plurality of the prelates who will one day choose who succeeds him as head of the global Catholic Church. After the ceremony, Francis will have named 59 of 125 cardinal electors. Forty-seven of the remaining electors were named by retired Pope Benedict XVI; 19 by John Paul II.

So that breaks out:




“Pope Francis”






As we can see, “Pope Francis” is still just about seven Cardinals behind – but again, as I’ve noted, there’s no guarantee that any of the 66 JP2+BXVI Cardinals wouldn’t have voted for him anyway.


  1. John, I have a doubt regarding the sacrament of holy orders and the way every pope is elected. According to Catholic doctrine, only a person with the third grade of orders, namely a bishop, can ordain. I would imagine that, because of the special place of the bishop of Rome, only his successor could ordain him to that office. If that is so, why is the pope elected by cardinals and not just ordained through the laying of hands by the bishop of Rome?

    God bless.

    1. What I mean by "only his successor could ordain him" is that only the current bishop of Rome can ordain his successor

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  3. Some of the cardinals chosen by Francis himself will be 80 next year and ineligible to vote. So age is cannibalizing his own selections.

    1. Normally a pope is already dead by the time a conclave is held, so he wouldn't be voting anyway. I've seen some talk of resignation, but one would think that he wouldn't do that unless he had all the pieces in place.

      A thing to consider, too, is that over the next 4-5 years, some huge percentage of the JP2/B16 group that is now eligible will be turning 80, so the numbers that Bergoglio can install are going up.

    2. Popes weren't always chosen by the College of Cardinals, were they? That's just a custom that was written into canon law, but popes can rewrite canon law. In theory, couldn't a pope directly appoint a successor?

    3. Steve, I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Since these roles were typically "for life", I can't think of an instance of that happening. Tertullian said something about Peter having ordained Clement, but at that same link, the writer says "Note that Tertullian didn't say Peter consecrated Clement as pope, which would have been impossible since a pope doesn't name his own successor; he merely ordained Clement as priest." Who knows? I doubt that Tertullian dealt in "priests". That was a third century development (Cyprian).

      In the early years, bishops of Rome were selected from among the living Roman presbyters, and there were often major fights over who was going to be elected. The "College of Cardinals" (as electors of the pope) was implemented in the reforms of the 1100's to prevent mostly the interference from the civil government (emperors once claimed the privilege of appointing bishops).