Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Scarlet fever in May

While, in other places in the blogosphere, there's whispers about the possibility of a looming announcement by Pope Benedict about a coming consistory at the end of June, this really isn't "earth shattering" news. I wrote about the reasons "for" a late-June Consistory in a previous blog entry back in February. If you don't want to read the whole entry, I'll sum up the factors:
  • The sentimental factor: This June will be the 30th anniversary of the 1977 Consistory held by Pope Paul VI, during which the red biretta was given to the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Joseph Ratzinger.
  • The numbers factor: Between last February's Feast of the Chair of St. Peter and this June's Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo turned 80 (on March 31, to be exact). In addition, 3 more Cardinals will turn 80 before the end of June (Laszlo Paskai of Hungary on May 8, Franciczek Macharski of Poland on May 20, and Varkey Vithayathil of India on May 29) and thus lose their right to vote in any future conclave(s). By holding off the Consistory until June, the Holy Father can name 15 rather than 11 Cardinals, and still keep the number of Cardinal electors at the legal limit of 120.
  • The "it's my prerogative" factor: Canon 351 of the Code of Canon Law basically asserts that the naming of Cardinals is solely the Pope's decision. Not having a consistory last February reminds everyone who's in charge. No one should "assume" he's going to name Cardinals or who is "owed" a red hat. I agree with other bloggers out there; let's see a red hat go somewhere it hasn't gone in a while (or never at all).

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