Pope to Name New Cardinals; Consistory Called for Feb. 22

Early Announcement to Facilitate Cardinals’ Travels to Rome

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The director of the Vatican press office announced today that Pope Francis will hold a consistory for the creation of new cardinals on Feb. 22.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi noted the date is being announced early so that cardinals can organize their schedules and attend meetings in Rome at the time of the consistory.

“Pope Francis has decided to communicate his decision to convoke February’s consistory in advance in order to facilitate the planning of other meetings involving the participation of cardinals from different parts of the world,” Father Lombardi said. “Indeed, it is foreseen that the Pope, like his predecessors on other occasions, intends for the Consistory to be preceded by a meeting of the College of Cardinals.

“Before this meeting – scheduled for the 17 and 18 February – there will take place the third meeting of the ‘Council of Cardinals’ (the so-called ‘Eight Cardinals’), while after the Consistory, on 24 and 25 February, there will be the meeting of the Synod Council.

“The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals for economic and organizational matters of the Holy See (the so-called ‘Council of Fifteen’) is expected to be scheduled as in previous years for the month of February, probably during the preceding week.”

By the end of February 2014, there will need to be more than a dozen cardinals named in order to keep the College of Cardinals at the decreed minimum of 120 electors (those younger than 80). There can also be more than 120 electors, and both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI maintained the College at more voters than 120 at various times.

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