One sat in pretrial detention, the other was proclaimed pope by mistake. This year, several prominent cardinals are dropping out as papal electors. Six purple bearers lose their right to vote. An overview:
The pope "from the other side of the world" is still extremely spry at 84, though Francis admitted after his impressive trip to Iraq earlier this week that the trip had taxed him more than any before. When the next conclave could be, remains nevertheless completely speculative. Leo XIII., as the oldest sitting pope to date, remained in office until he was 93. Year of life head of the Catholic Church.
Since Pope Francis took office, he has also tried to make the church more international and less Europe-centric through the composition of the College of Cardinals. But already under his predecessors bishops from Australia, Africa and other continents received the cardinal dignity. Some are already or will be 80 years old later this year. As of early March, 126 of the 227 cardinals of the universal church are now eligible to vote in a possible conclave.
George Cardinal Pell, 8. June 1941: The Australian may be the best known, but probably the most controversial cardinal to reach the age limit this year. After allegations of sexual assault, he stood trial in his home country for years, spending more than a year in prison until Australia's highest court acquitted him – for lack of evidence. He became a cardinal in 2003 under John Paul II., was later Vatican finance chief. His reforms in this area were his undoing, Pell claimed after his return to Rome. Senior church officials in the Vatican allegedly conspired against him to "destroy" him with child abuse allegations; he has not yet been able to provide evidence of this plot.
Angelo Cardinal Scola, 7. November 1941: The Italian was erroneously proclaimed pope already, a fact that lingers with the long-serving archbishop to this day. Scola had long been considered the favorite in Italy in 2013. The Italian Bishops' Conference, after Francis' election, had inadvertently welcomed the "news of the election of Cardinal Angelo Scola as Peter's successor". John Paul II. Named him patriarch of Venice in 2002; elevated him to cardinal a year later. In 2011, he became archbishop of Milan; in 2017, Cardinal Scola, a confidant of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, emeritus. is considered.
Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako, 27. February 1941: John Paul II. Awarded the archbishop the cardinal's purple in 2003 – a tribute to Zubeir Wako, who was often obstructed in his ministry by Sudan's Islamic regime. In 2010 he escaped an assassination attempt by a Muslim. From 1981 to 2016, he was archbishop of Khartoum in Sudan. With Wako and Cardinals Napier and Piat, three cardinals from populous Africa lose their right to vote in this year's papal election. Their number thus drops to 15 (8.3 percent of voters).
Wilfred Cardinal Napier Fox, OFM, 8. March 1941: Pope John Paul II. appointed the Franciscan archbishop of Durban in 1992, a post he holds to this day, though Pope Francis placed Abel Gabuza as coadjutor to him as archbishop in 2018, but he died in mid-January 2021 following a Corona infection. Napier has been a member of the College of Cardinals for exactly 20 years. He is considered a strong voice of the African church, continues to campaign against discrimination in South Africa to this day and also uses Twitter to post critical submissions about the church and politics.
Maurice Evenor Cardinal Piat CSSp, 19. July 1941: The member of the Spiritan order has been bishop of Port-Louis on the island of Mauritius since 1993. All of the last three popes relied on his services, John Paul II: made him archbishop of Port-Louis, Benedict in 2009 a member of the Synod of Bishops' Second Special Assembly for Africa. Francis accepted him into the College of Cardinals and appointed him a member of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development. As diocesan bishop he is still in office despite offer to resign.
Beniamino Cardinal Stella, 18. August 1941: The longtime cardinal of the Curia and head of the Congregation for the Clergy has been a household name for German Catholics since 2020 at the latest, when an instruction from his department set clear limits for parish reforms. The letter contradicts efforts to entrust the leadership of parishes to teams of priests and lay people who are committed to the church; this was prompted by reform efforts in the Trier diocese. In 2014, Pope Francis accepted Stella into the College of Cardinals.
Mathias Peter (DR) with material from KNA