Pope Francis arrives to celebrate Mass with new cardinals last November at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. (Photo: AFP)
A rumor went out a couple of weeks ago that Pope Francis will soon announce another consistory to create new cardinals. It would be the eighth of his pontificate.
There's no urgency for him to give out more red hats right now since there are still 121 cardinals under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect the bishop of Rome. That's one more than the ceiling of 120 electors set by Paul VI, although successive popes have pushed the figure beyond that from time to time.
Barring any deaths, the number returns to 120 on Nov. 7 when Cardinal Angelo Scola, retired archbishop of Milan, marks his 80th birthday.
Four more men lose their vote between next January and early June, and another six will age out in the second half of 2022. So if Francis calls a consistory now he will again exceed the 120 limit. The only question is by how large a margin.
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