|Pope to create up to 14 new cardinals|
Catholic News ServiceVATICAN CITY -- In late February, Pope Francis will create upwards of 14 new cardinals.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters Dec. 5 that the international Council of Cardinals advising the pope on the reform of the Roman Curia and church governance decided to extend by a day their next meeting. It will be Feb. 17-19.
The spokesman also announced that Pope Francis would hold a consistory or consultation with the entire College of Cardinals Feb. 20-21 at the Vatican.
The meeting will precede the celebration of the Feb. 22 feast of the Chair of St. Peter, which is when Pope Francis will create new cardinals. The pope and the newly expanded College of Cardinals will concelebrate Mass Feb. 23.
Pope Francis has not announced the names of the new cardinals, although the date of the ceremony was announced in late October. As of Dec. 5, the College of Cardinals had 200 members, 109 of whom are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. One cardinal will turn 80 Dec. 25 and two more will celebrate their 80th birthdays in January.
According to rules established by Pope Paul VI, the college is not to have more than 120 cardinals under the age of 80. On occasion, both Blessed John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI exceeded the 120 limit on cardinal electors, but only for short periods. Whether he respects the 120 limit, Pope Francis can create at least 14 cardinals in February.
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