Pope Francis’ 8th Consistory of New Cardinals Expected in 2022

The Pope is expected to call his 8th consistory in 2022, adding to the 70 cardinals he has already chosen.

Birettas and rings for new cardinals are displayed in St. Peter's Basilica Nov. 28, 2020
Birettas and rings for new cardinals are displayed in St. Peter's Basilica Nov. 28, 2020 (photo: Divisione Produzione Fotografica / Vatican Media / CNA)

VATICAN CITY — Predicting the coming year at the Vatican is always tricky, and that’s especially so in light of our current papacy of surprises and COVID-19.

But one event that can safely be foreseen is a consistory of new cardinals.

Currently the College of Cardinals has 120 cardinals under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. An advisory limit of 120 set by Pope St. Paul VI has often been exceeded, including by Pope Francis.

But the fact that the number is already 120 at the beginning of 2022 means that throughout the course of the coming year the number will fall and Francis will undoubtedly wish to call a new consistory to make up the numbers.

This is significant, as the more cardinal electors Pope Francis can appoint, the more likely he will be able to guide the next conclave into electing his preferred successor, although this is not a failsafe plan. Pius XII’s choices, for example, did not prevent Angelo Roncalli, who differed from Pius in many ways and whom Pius elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1953, from being elected John XXIII in 1958.

According to the Church news aggregator, Il Sismografo, the number of cardinal electors will drop to 110 by the end of the year, with several cardinals — including close papal adviser Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, curial Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, and the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti — turning 80 in 2022.

These numbers do not include Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, 73, who since 2020 has been stripped of his voting rights due to his indictment in the London property trial that will resume Jan. 25.

The full list of cardinals, listed in order of the date on which they turn 80, according to Il Sismografo:

  1. Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, archbishop emeritus of Santiago, Chile (Jan. 7) 
  2. Gualtiero Bassetti, archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve, Italy (April 7)
  3. Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain (April 13) 
  4. Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop emeritus of Mexico City (June 6) 
  5. Gregorio Rosa Chávez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador (Sept. 3) 
  6. Rubén Salazar Gómez, archbishop of Bogotá, Colombia (Sept. 22) 
  7. Giuseppe Bertello, former president of Vatican City State (Oct. 1) 
  8. Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture (Oct. 18)
  9. André Armand Vingt-Trois, archbishop emeritus of Paris (Nov. 7) 
  10. Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Dec. 29)

As of Dec. 30, Pope Francis has chosen more than half of the cardinal electors — that is, 70 cardinals, or 58% of the College — leaving Benedict XVI appointees numbering 38 (32%), and St. John Paul II appointees numbering 12 (10%). 

In terms of living non-electors, elderly churchmen over 80 whom popes have elevated to the College of Cardinals for their distinguished service to the Church, Francis has chosen 23, Benedict XVI 27 and John Paul II 45.

So out of a total of 215 members of the current College of Cardinals, John Paul II created 57 of them, Benedict chose 65, and Francis 95 (including Cardinal Becciu).

It is also conceivable that Pope Francis may dispense completely with the 120 advisory limit and expand the number of voting cardinals to 150 or more, but at the moment this seems unlikely. 

New Appointments

Also of interest this coming year will be Francis’ choices of new cardinals to fill these vacancies, and his selections of the new president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the president of Italy’s bishops’ conference.

Outside the College, he will also probably be appointing a new archbishop of Paris following the resignation of Archbishop Michel Aupetit on Dec. 2, and may choose new archbishops for the following sees or as heads of dicasteries as they will have reached or exceeded the normal episcopal retirement age of 75 in the coming year: 

  • Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (79 in July)
  • Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (79 in November)
  • Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (78 in April)
  • Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston (78 in June)
  • Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops (78 in June) 
  • Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay and papal adviser (78 in December)
  • Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna (77 in January)
  • Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster (77 in November)
  • Cardinal Michael Czerny, interim prefect, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (76 in July)
  • Cardinal Thomas Collins, archbishop of Toronto (75 in January)
  • Cardinal Joāo Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (75 in April)
  • Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life (75 in September)
  • Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka (75 in November)
  • Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington DC (75 in December)
  • Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (75 in December)
Pope Francis offers Mass at St. Peter's Basilica for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God on Jan. 1, 2022.

End Of 2022 Review (Dec. 31)

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