How the balance in the College of Cardinals will change after the consistory

After the August consistory, the number of cardinals rises to 227. 132 of them will be electors. In the 2013 conclave, there were 117 electors and two did not attend.

It’s not just a question of quantity, however. What has changed in the College of Cardinals in these last 9 years is the nationality of the cardinals.

For example, in 2013, Asia and Oceania had 11 cardinal electors. After the consistory, they had 24 and some came from areas where there have never been cardinals before, such as Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

FR. ROBERTO REGOLI
Historian, Pontifical Gregorian University

On the one hand, it responds to a need of this pontificate, which has always talked about emphasizing the peripheries and putting them on the front lines; on the other hand, it favors candidates who have a strong knowledge of the local areas but less of the universal Church.

Europe does not change much in terms of numbers, going from 60 to 54. However, there is a drop in the number of Italian electors. In 2013, there were 28 and as of Saturday, the number will drop to 21. By the end of next year, another 7 will reach the elector age limit, and the figure will be reduced to only 14.

Of the 132 electors, approximately 36 work or worked in the curia, so their presence continues to carry a lot of weight.

Lastly—as of the August 27 consistory—almost 60% of the cardinal electors were chosen by Pope Francis.

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