08 December 2015

Age at Consecration: Comparing Three Popes Appointments

This is a look at the age at consecration of bishops named by the current and previous two Popes. To help simplify things, I've excluded those consecrated in the first 3 months of a Pope's reign (since they were likely named by the previous Pope).

Overall John Paul II Benedict XVI Francis
Count 5,675 3,912 1,282 481
Youngest 29.7 29.7 37.0 37.9
Average 53.1 52.8 53.9 54.3
Median 52.5 52.1 52.9 53.7
Oldest 91.8 82.0 91.8 73.0

The median is probably the best gauge to use since it reduces the impact of outliers. We can see a minor upward trend in the consecration ages under the 3 Popes.

It will be interesting to see if this trend continues during the remainder of the reign of Pope Francis.

25 November 2015

Age at Consecration for modern Bishops of Great Britain

With the recent nomination of Bishop-elect John Wilson to be an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, which will make him the youngest bishop in Great Britain (47.56 at consecration), someone asked me to look at modern Bishops of Great Britain and their ages at consecration.

The data set included all bishops who were born in and/or served in Great Britain (including Nuncios) and were consecrated in 1850 or later. In total that is 347 bishops. The average age at consecration is 51.26 years old.

The youngest was Bishop Henry Hanlon, born in Manchester, consecrated a titular bishop and Vicar Apostolic of Upper Nile {Nilo Superiore}, Uganda at age 32.8 back in 1894.

The next youngest was Bishop William Joseph Hugh Clifford who was consecrated Bishop of Clifton at age 33.1 in 1857. He served in that role until his death 36 years later.

Bishop Vincent Paul Logan is the youngest living. He was consecrated Bishop of Dunkeld at age 39.6 in 1981. He served in that role for almost 35 years before resigning in 2012.

The oldest was William Theodore Cardinal Heard, born in Edinburgh, consecrated at 78.1 in 1962. He served in the Roman Curia and was active during the Second Vatican Council.

The oldest who served in Great Britain was Bishop William Anthony Johnson who was consecrated a titular bishop and Auxiliary of Westminster at age 73.6 in 1906. He passed away 3 years later.

The oldest who was an ordinary in Great Britain is Bishop Peter Antony Moran who was consecrated Bishop of Aberdeen at age 68.6 in 2003 and is still living, but retired since 2011.

20 November 2015

Prediction: Next Consistory to Create Cardinals

As this liturgical year wraps up, lets take a look at next year and the College of Cardinals. Currently there are 118 electors among the 218 living cardinals, leaving only 2 open "slots" for new voting age cardinals. Assuming no deaths, that will not change until 28 Feb 2016 when Cardinal Mahony loses his elector status.

Pope Francis has created cardinals twice - both in February - but with only 3 opens slots by the end of next February, it seems highly unlikely that he'll do it again next year.

However, by the end of the year, 10 more electors will age out - leaving 13 total open slots. At the time of the creations in 2014, there were 14 open slots and in 2015 there were 10.

So based on that and looking at the traditional times for such a consistory, I predict that the next consistory to create cardinals will be one held on Christ the King weekend in 2016 (19/20 November).

Now looking past that, in 2017 only 4 electors will age out - the last one in April. If I'm correct in the first prediction, there won't be one held in 2017.

2018 is a different story, with 7 cardinals losing their vote - the last one in June. My guess is there will be another consistory to create cardinals in the Spring of 2018.

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


08 September 2015

Pre Pope John Paul II Bishops

So the question: How many active bishops were appointed to their current post before Pope John Paul II became Pope?

The answer is only 4.

The ordinaries are:
There are no longer any Auxiliary Bishops that meet the criteria. The last one retired in January 2012.

All of them were named by Pope Paul VI.

You'll notice that many of them are at or near the retirement age. Before they do retire, let us take a moment to thank them for their many years of service!

20 April 2015

Religious Orders in Recent Times (top dozen, charts, 2015)

I've created a few charts that look at the number of priests and members of religious orders over the last several decades. To avoid it looking like spaghetti, I only used the top dozen orders based on number of priests*. I also split the top 4 from the other 8 - there is very little overlap between the two and it makes the charts much clearer.

The charts are posted here. (.pdf format)

The Jesuits were the first order (of the top dozen) to have lost more than half of their members from their recent high point (from 36,038 in 1966 to 17,908 in 2011).

Three more orders are very close to reaching that point: Oblates of Mary Immaculate (down 49%), Franciscans (down 48%), and Vincentians/Lazarists (down 46%). But the last two of those showed small gains in the last year.

In terms of priests, no order has reached that point yet and the only one really close is Benedictines which are down 48% from their recent high point (from 7,058 in the early 1970s to 3,692 in 2014).

In the top dozen, only one order, Divine Word Missionaries, has hit its high mark in terms of members in recent years (6,131 in 2009).

In terms of priests, two orders hit their highest mark in 2014: Divine Word Missionaries with 4,202 and Discalced Carmelites with 2,880.

(* Out of curiosity I checked the top dozen orders based on number of members - it was the same dozen, but in a slightly different order.)

Note that only Male Religious Orders were included because that happens to be the data I have readily available. As time permits, I'll try to do similar charts for Female Religious Orders.

14 March 2015

Happy (American) Pi Day (and Minute)

Happy (American) Pi Day!

Using American style dates, today is 3/14/15 ... and this is being posted at 9:26 am local time :-)

Math Geeks Unite

05 January 2015

Cardinal Stats and Charts, 2015

This posts assumes that the plans announced yesterday for a Consistory to Create New Cardinals on 14 Feb 2015 are not changed and that there are no deaths.

On 15 Feb 2015, there will be 228 Living Cardinals with 125 eligible to vote in a conclave when that should become necessary. (Today it is 208 and 110, respectively.)

The average age of the Cardinals on that day will be 77.77 and the average of the electors will be 71.10 years old. (Today it is 78.19 and 71.50, respectively.)

The average length of service as a Cardinal on that day will be 11.08 years, 6.40 years if only considering electors. (Today it is 12.04 and 7.16 years, respectively.)

The number of Cardinal Electors will fall back to 120 on 28 February 2016, the day after Cardinal Mahony turns 80.

The youngest Cardinal will be Soane Patita Paini Mafi (Bishop of Tonga) who will be 53.1 years old when he is created.

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

The charts are:
  • Number of Cardinals (1585-2025; 1915-2025; and 1965-2025)
  • Average Age (1585-2025; 1915-2025; and 1965-2025)

Cardinals Turning 80

WhenCardinal Electors
15 Feb 2015125
End of 2015121
End of 2016109
End of 2017104
End of 201896
(the table assumes no deaths nor new Cardinal Electors)

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.

After the creation of the new Cardinals, 55% will be Electors (today it is 53%).

Assuming no Cardinal deaths and no new creations beyond what has been announced, on 27 Jun 2016, Cardinal-Electors will be 50% (114 of 228). On 25 Aug 2016 it will fall below 50% for the first time ever (113 of 228).

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