25 July 2018

Cardinal Electors and Modern Limits

First a bit of background information before we get to the periods were there was more than 120 Cardinal Electors.

The age limit on electors became effective on 1 Jan 1971 (Ingravescentem Aetatem). The limit of 120 electors was added on 1 Oct 1975 (Romano Pontifici Eligendo). The current rule (cardinals age 80 or less on the day the Holy See becomes vacant may vote) was added on 22 Feb 1996 (Universi Dominici Gregis).

Before the 1996 language, it is not possible to precisely say the number of cardinal electors (it was based on when the conclave began), so I'll disregard the 2 times before then when the number could have been 121 for short periods.

Since then, there have been 10 times when the 120 number was exceeded.

Start End Highest Days PopeNote
21-Feb-2001 1-Aug-2002 136 526 JP2
21-Oct-2003 12-Dec-2004 134 418 JP21
21-Oct-2003 10-Jan-2005 135 447 JP22
24-Mar-2006 25-Mar-2006 121 1 B16
20-Nov-2010 27-Jan-2011 121 68 B16
18-Feb-2012 27-Jul-2012 125 160 B16
22-Feb-2014 12-Mar-2014 122 18 F
14-Feb-2015 20-Apr-2015 125 65 F
19-Nov-2016 29-Nov-2016 121 10 F
28-Jun-2017 6-Sep-2017 121 70 F
28-Jun-2018 28-Apr-2019 125 304 F3

There are two entries beginning in 2003 due to Cardinal Gulbinowicz. At the time it was thought that his birth year was 1928 (age out in 2008), but in reality it was 1923 (age out in 2003 just before the consistory). The correct birth year was not acknowledged until February 2005.
1) in reality
2) as perceived at the time
3) the final period is an estimate that assumes no cardinal elector dies and no new ones are created before the end date.

For completeness, here are the other times when the 120 limit was exceeded with some notes.

Start End Highest Days Pope Note
28-Apr-1968 1-Jan-1971 134 978 P6 1
30-Jun-1979 1-Jul-1979 121 1 JP2 2
28-Jun-1988 27-Jul-1988 121 29 JP2 2

1) This was before the age limit and the 120 cardinal elector limit existed.
2) The count and Days are based on the current language. At the time the age limit was more vague and a precise count of electors is not possible.

(Revised on 27 Aug 2018 to add info about Cardinal Gulbinowicz)

10 May 2017

Happy 20th Anniversary!

The earliest start to the main website was early in 1997. I don't have an exact date or even copies of the earliest beginnings. At the time, it was 3 manually created pages - covering only the US.

About 5 years later, on 10 May 2002, the Feast of St. Damien de Veuster, the new domain (Catholic-Hierarchy.org) went live. Statistics are only available from that point.

There are a few points in time when the stats went down for a period of time (server overloads, etc.) - no attempt has been made to correct for those.

By the time the new domain went live, the site covered just the Americas. But that was corrected a few months later when the rest of the world was complete enough to merge into the main site.

The only major area not fully covered at this time is China - due to its unique situation. I hope that will be resolved soon.

So, in 15 years, folks have made 32.9 million visits to the site, viewing 204.5 million pages. For the geeks: that's 560.7 million hits and 3.1 terabytes of data served.

Unique visitors are always a tricky metric, but currently its over 120k a month. In the last month, there have been visitors from almost every country in the world (Google Analytics says 216).

Thank you all for the support and help along the way. I look forward to another 20 years!

23 March 2017

US Bishops at or near the retirement age

The following US bishops are either already at or reach the normal retirement age (75) in the next year. (Birthdate, Bishop, Title)

Ordinaries
Auxiliary Bishops

06 February 2017

200 million pages served

In the last week of January, the main website passed a milestone - 200 million web pages served.

While the website has been around in some form since 1997. About five years that the website acquired its name and all stats begin at that point.

So, as of last weekend, folks have made 32.2 million visits to the website, seeing a bit over 200 million web pages (552 million hits for the nerds out there). That's a bit over 3 terabytes of data served.

Many thanks to all of you that use the website!

05 February 2017

Cardinal Stats and Charts, 2017

This posts assumes that there are no deaths among the current Cardinals.

As of today (5 Feb 2017, there are be 226 Living Cardinals with 119 eligible to vote in a conclave when that should become necessary.

The average age of the Cardinals is 78.16 and the average of the electors is 71.18 years old.

The average length of service as a Cardinal is 11.27 years, 6.39 years if only considering electors.

The youngest Cardinal is Dieudonné Nzapalainga, C.S.Sp. (Archbishop of Bangui) who will turn 50 years old on 14 March.

The oldest Cardinal is José de Jesús Pimiento Rodriguez (Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales) who will turn 98 on the 18th of this month.

I've posted an updated version of the Cardinal Charts (warning: PDF format).

The charts are:
  • Number of Cardinals (1585-2027; 1915-2027; and 1965-2027)
  • Average Age (1585-2027; 1915-2027; and 1965-2027)

Cardinals Turning 80

WhenCardinal Electors
Now119
End of 2017116
End of 2018109
End of 201999
(the table assumes no deaths nor new Cardinal Electors)

For a prediction of when the next batch of Cardinals will be created, please see this post.


Cardinal-Electors as Percent of the College

With the introduction of the age limit for Cardinals to vote in a conclave, the percent of Cardinals eligible to vote has been trending downward.

Today, 52.2% are Electors.

Assuming no Cardinal deaths and no new creations, on 7 Mar 2018, Cardinal-Electors will be 50% (113 of 226). On 30 Mar 2018 it will fall below 50% for the first time ever (112 of 226).

Given that deaths of non-Electors are more likely, the dates will likely be later than those given above.

16 January 2017

Predicting New Cardinals: 2018 and 2019

As of today, there are 226 living Cardinals. Of those, 120 have the right to vote in a Conclave when one becomes necessary (aka, they have not yet turned 80 years old). These are called the Cardinal Electors.

The limit of the number of Cardinal Electors is 120, although the Pope can ignore that if he so desires.

This year (2017) only four Cardinal Electors turn 80. That makes a consistory to create new cardinals this year unlikely.

Next year (2018) is a different story - seven additional Cardinals turn 80. In an odd streak of luck, all of them fall in the first half of the year.

Assuming no deaths, that means that 11 Cardinal Elector "slots" will be available by June, 2018. So I'm predicting a Consistory to Create New Cardinals in late Spring or early Summer 2018.

With the effort of Pope Francis to de-emphasize the Roman aspect of the pallium distribution, perhaps the weekend after the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul would be a good time.

In 2019, an additional 11 Cardinal Electors turn 80. Four of those fall in October. Thus I'm predicting another Consistory to Create New Cardinals in late Fall 2019.

The weekend of Christ the King (23-24 Nov) would be an obvious choice but there are other options such as All Saints/All Souls or the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

(Note I had previously predicted a consistory in the "Spring of 2018" in this post back in November 2015.)

Of course, I have no inside knowledge and the creation of cardinals is at the complete discretion of the Holy Father.

Related:

16 April 2016

Decoding the "Source(s) Section" on Bishop pages

Several years ago, I introduced the "Source(s)" section on Bishop pages on the site. It is still far from complete and not all entries are visible.

Most of the actual source references are pretty easy to understand. Sometimes it is only initials (perhaps with a date) - those usually refer to individuals that often provide information for the site. In the future, I may expand those to full names, after I have consulted with them.

But the first part of the source information line may be a bit more confusing. So here is a list of the common codes (when multiple apply, they may be separated by a slash).


  • bp birth place
  • bd birth date
  • b biography (general, usually means too many items to list separately)
  • od ordained deacon
  • op ordained priest
  • ob ordained bishop
  • oXd diocese for whom he was ordained (examples: odd, opd, obd)
  • oXp location at which he was ordained (not currently in the databases)
  • dd death date
  • dp death place
  • i installed
  • s succeeded
  • ab appointed bishop
  • r resigned/retired
  • c0 bishop who ordained him to the diaconate
  • c1 bishop who ordained him to the priesthood
  • c2 principal consecrator for his bishop ordination
  • cX principal co-consecrator for his bishop ordination (X being any number above 2)

(note the c are often combined, so c2+ means principal consecrators plus co-consecrators)

An example that has several of these is the entry for my own ordinary:  Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas.