VATICAN CITY — After the consistory to create new cardinals in early October, Pope Francis will have chosen more than half of the men who will enter the Sistine Chapel to elect his successor.
After arriving late for the midday recitation of the Angelus prayer Sept. 1 because he was stuck in an elevator for 25 minutes, Pope Francis announced he would create 13 new cardinals Oct. 5.
Ten of the prelates he chose are under the age of 80 and, therefore, would be eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a pope. A cardinal who has turned 80 before the papacy is vacant participates in pre-conclave meetings to discuss the needs of the Church but does not process into the Sistine Chapel and does not cast ballots for a new pope.
Barring any deaths or resignations, once the new cardinals receive their red hats in early October, the College of Cardinals will have 128 members eligible to vote in a conclave. Within 10 days of the consistory, four cardinals will celebrate their 80th birthdays, leaving 124 electors.
Of those 124, Pope Francis will have made 66 of them cardinals, which is 53 percent of the electors. The other electors will include 16 cardinals created by St. John Paul II and 42 made cardinals by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.
Personal opinions about the needs of the Church at any given moment and about who would be the best person to lead obviously are at play in a conclave. But the cardinals also invoke the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and make a very solemn oath in casting their ballots: “I call as my witness Christ the Lord, who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected.”
Announcing the new cardinals, Pope Francis said they illustrate “the missionary vocation of the Church that continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all men and women of the earth.”
A commitment to the poor, to caring for migrants and refugees and to engaging in dialogue with all people are characteristics many in the group of 13 share.
Pope Francis’ choices continue to pay little attention to the large archdioceses traditionally led by cardinals, such as Milan and Venice. But he will give a red hat to Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, Italy, where all but one of the archbishops in the last 400 years had been a cardinal. The only exception was Archbishop Enrico Manfredini, who led the archdiocese for only eight months in 1983 before he died at the age of 61.
In selecting cardinals, Pope Francis has made it a point to increase the geographical profile of the College of Cardinals. The conclave that elected him included participants from 48 nations; the 128 electors in the expanded college will include prelates from 68 countries.
The cardinals-designate, in the order they were named by the pope:
• Archbishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, 67
• Archbishop José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, Vatican archivist and librarian, 53
• Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, Indonesia, 69
• Archbishop Juan Garcia Rodriguez of Havana, 71
• Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa, Congo, 59
• Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, 61
• Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, 72
• Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, Italy, 63
• Archbishop Cristobal Lopez Romero of Rabat, Morocco, 67
• Father Michael Czerny, SJ, undersecretary of the Section for Migrants and Refugees at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, 73
• Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, former president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, 82
• Retired Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius of Kaunas, Lithuana, 80
• Retired Bishop Eugenio dal Corso of Benguela, Angola, 80