VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- How has the composition of the College of Cardinals changed over the 26 years of John Paul II’s pontificate? The numbers answer the question.
In 1978, the cardinal electors numbered 111, and represented 48 countries.
Today, the cardinal electors number 117 (though two are not participating in the conclave for reasons of health) and represent 52 countries.
In 1978, half of the cardinals were Europeans; in 2005 they also constitute half.
In 1978, 17% of the cardinals were from Latin America; now they are 18%.
In 1978, 11% were from North America — that is, the United States and Canada — while today they constitute 12%.
In 1978, 10% were African; today the Africans constitute 9%.
In 1978, 7% were Asian, now they are 9%.
In 1978, cardinals from Oceania were 4%; now they are 2%.
In 1978, Italy had the most cardinals, 25. Today it has 20.
The United States had nine cardinals in 1978, compared with 11 now; France had seven, now it has five; Brazil had six, now it has four; Germany had five, now it has six; Spain had four, now it has six.
Mexico had one cardinal in 1978; now it has four, although one will not participate for reasons of health.