Pope Benedict continues to make mark on Sacred College

Pope Benedict XVI continued to make a significant mark on the electors who might choose his successor with his Oct. 20 announcement of 24 new members of the College of Cardinals — including two Americans. Of the new cardinals, 20 are younger than 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a papal conclave. 

The new American cardinals are Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., and Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome. 

The new members will be installed during a Nov. 20 consistory in Rome — the third one of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, with earlier gatherings held in March 2006 and November 2007. In all, he has appointed 62 cardinals. Of the 121 electors as of Nov. 20, Pope Benedict will have chosen 50. With more than 30 cardinals turning 80 in the next three years, upcoming consistories will see even more changes. 

The distribution of the new cardinals is divided equally among those serving in posts in the Vatican and residential archbishops in charge of dioceses or archdioceses around the world. There are 40 electors who are current or former Vatican officials.  

The appointments also bring a notable strengthening of the Italian presence in the Sacred College, as eight of the 20 new electors are from Italy. In all, there are now 48 Italian cardinals, with 25 eligible to vote in a papal conclave, the highest number from any country. As of Nov. 20, there will be 13 U.S. cardinal-electors, tying the highest number ever.  

Matthew Bunson is the editor of the 2011 Catholic Almanac (OSV, $32.95) and The Catholic Answer. For more coverage — including a full list of new cardinals — visit www.osv.com.

New Cardinals

Angelo Amato, 72, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Italy 

Antonio Naguib, 75, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt

Robert Sarah, 65, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Guinea (Africa) 

Francesco Monterisi, 76, archpriest of St Paul’s Outside the Walls, Italy 

Fortunato Baldelli, 75, major penitentiary of the Roman Church, Italy 

Raymond Burke, 62, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, United States 

Kurt Koch, 60, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Switzerland 

Paolo Sardi, 76, pro-Patron of the Order of Malta, Italy
Mauro Piacenza, 66, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Italy 

Velasio De Paolis CS, 75, prefect for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (& papal delegate to the Legionaries of Christ), Italy 

Gianfranco Ravasi, 68, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Italy 

Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, 79, archbishop-emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia 

Raul Eduardo Vela Chiliboga, 76, archbishop-emeritus of Quito, Ecuador 

Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, 71, archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo 

Paolo Romeo, 72, archbishop of Palermo, Italy 

Donald Wuerl, 69, archbishop of Washington, D.C., United States 

Raymundo Damasceno Assis, 73, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil 

Kazmierz Nycz, 60, archbishop of Warsaw, Poland 

Malcolm Ranjith, 62, archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka 

Reinhard Marx, 57, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany 

Those older than 80: 

Archbishop Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens, 84, Military Ordinary-emeritus of Spain, Spain 

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, 82, president-emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Italy 

Msgr. Walter Brandmuller, 81, president-emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences, Germany 

Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci, 93, director-emeritus of the Sistine Choir, Italy

Notable names

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke: Prefect of the Church’s highest court since 2009, the cardinal-designate is one of the world’s greatest experts on canon (or Church) law. A native of Richland Center, Wis., he studied at The Catholic University of America and the Gregorian University in Rome. He served in Rome for years as a professor and a member of the Roman Rota before his appointment as bishop of Lacrosse, Wis., in 1994 and archbishop of St. Louis in 2003. Archbishop Burke, 62, is one of the most vocal U.S. bishops in the area of abortion and political life, declaring firmly that Catholic politicians with voting records contrary to the teachings of the Church on moral issues should be denied the Eucharist.  

Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl: The archbishop of Washington, D.C., since 2006 is a native of Pittsburgh and is considered one of the most prominent bishop-theologians in the country. He earned his doctorate in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and in 1978 was one of three non-cardinals permitted inside the conclave as a secretary to Cardinal John Wright. Archbishop Wuerl became an auxiliary bishop of Seattle in 1986 and bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988. He is the author of the catechisms “The Teaching of Christ” and “The Catholic Way.” In 2009, he signed the Manhattan Declaration, a statement giving support to “the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty.”  

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi: The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture since 2007, he is a renowned biblical scholar, expert in Hebrew and a highly prolific writer. For 18 years (1989-2007), he was prefect of Milan’s Ambrosian Library, a post once held by the future Pope Pius XI. In 2007, he was asked by Pope Benedict XVI to write the meditations on the Way of the Cross for Good Friday at the Colosseum, and he is director of a weekly television program “Frontiers of the Spirit,” broadcast on Sundays on Italy’s Channel 5 and offering spiritual and biblical reflections. Archbishop Ravasi, 68, is also president of the of the pontifical commissions for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and for Sacred Archaeology. 

Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don: Head of the Colombo archdiocese in Sri Lanka since last year, he has been a papal ambassador and secretary for the Vatican’s office for liturgy, helped direct the Church’s global missions and is trained in Scripture. The 62-year-old gained notoriety while serving in the Congregation for Worship for his support of the Tridentine Mass and his opposition to Communion in the hand. As a one-time nuncio to Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic country, he is familiar with the challenges of Catholic-Islamic outreach and dialogue.  

Archbishop Reinhard Marx: The archbishop of Munich and Freising since 2007 is now, at age 57, the youngest of the cardinals and one of the most colorful. An expert in Catholic social teaching, Archbishop Marx is the author of a modern Catholic response to Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” and capitalism that became a huge best-seller in Germany. He has also been a key figure in the German Church’s effort to deal with the sex abuse crisis. The bearded, gregarious and media-savvy archbishop has become famous for his love of riding motorcycles.

Global College

Total cardinals

As of Nov. 20, there will be 203 cardinals from a total of 62 countries (in red).


As of Nov. 20, there will be 121 cardinal-electors from 48 countries (in green).

Countries with the most electors

Italy: 25  

United States: 13 

Germany: 6  

Brazil: 5 

France: 5  

Spain: 5  

Mexico: 4 

Poland: 4  

India: 3

By the Numbers

Average age of cardinals: 71 

Oldest cardinal: Ersilio Tonini, 96, of Italy 

Youngest cardinal: Reinhard Marx, 57, of Germany 

Oldest elector: Bernard Panafieu, 79, of France