Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cardinal Numbers

As any number of religious blogs will tell you, today William Cardinal Baum ceases to be a voting member of the College of Cardinals. What makes this event notable is that Baum was the last remaining voting member of the College to be appointed by Pope Paul VI (1963-1978). The only other Pauline appointee who remains under the age of 80 is the present Pontiff, Benedict XVI. As of today, of the 114 Cardinal Electors, 102 were appointed by Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) and 12 were appointed by Pope Benedict XVI (2005-).

Baum was elevated to the College of Cardinals in May 1976. That means he was a voting member of the College for about 30.5 years. That got me thinking about whether this makes him one of the longest serving twentieth century cardinals (in terms of being able to vote in a papal election).

Of course things were complicated a little by Pope Paul's November 1970 Motu Proprio, Ingravescentum aetatem. This stated that as of 1 January 1971 Cardinals who had reached the age of 80 would no longer be able to participate in conclaves.

So then, is Baum the longest-eligible papal voter of the last 100+ years? Actually, no; there are a number of other cardinals who were eligible to vote for longer than Baum's 30.5 years. These include Cardinal Landázuri Ricketts of Lima (31 years), Cardinal Léger of Montréal (31 years), Cardinal Rugambwa of Dar-es-Salaam (32 years), Cardinal Siri of Genoa (33 years), Cardinal Tisserant, a curial official (33 years) and Cardinal Liénart of Lille (40.5 years).

However the winner by a nose is Cardinal Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon. Elevated to the College of Cardinals at the age of 41 by Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) in 1929 (incidentally during the same Consistory that saw the elevation of a certain Eugenio Pacelli), Cerejeira was only relieved of his right to vote in a papal election by the implementation of Ingravescentum aetatem in January 1971, just over 41 years later. Cardinal Cerejeira died in August 1977 at the age of 88.

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