In the wake of Pope Francis’ eagerly anticipated announcement of the names of the new Cardinals, the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, offered the following observations:
The Pope has adhered to the rule of 120 Cardinals under 80 years of age who will be eligible to vote in a papal election. Currently there were 13 seats “vacant”; 3 others will be “vacant” by the end of May. So the Pope has chosen 16 electors.
Of the 16 eligible to vote, 4 are members of the Curia (i.e., ¼ of the total) and 12 are residential archbishops or bishops, all from different countries .
The distribution of electors who are residential prelates is well distributed among the different continents: Two from Europe, three from North and Central America, three from South America, two from Africa, and two from Asia.
The choice of Cardinals of Burkina Faso and Haiti shows concern for people struck by poverty.
Two residential prelates were chosen from places not traditionally considered Cardinalatial Sees (namely, Perugia in Italy, and Cotabato on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines).
Among the Cardinals who are not electors, one should notice Archbishop Capovilla, the secretary of Pope John XXIII (who will soon be canonized during the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council).
Archbishop Capovilla, aged 98, is the oldest of the Cardinals-elect; the youngest, Bishop Langlois (55 years old).