Cardinals of the Catholic Church. Photo: Vatican Media

12 Interesting Facts about the New Cardinals and the Composition of the New College of Cardinals

The Youngest Cardinal, the First Dalit Cardinal and the First Paraguayan Cardinal Are Some of the Facts We Present in This Article

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 31.05.2022).- With the announcement of a new Consistory at the end of August, the composition of the College of Cardinals doesn’t change much. ZENIT offers 12 interesting facts about the composition of the Cardinals, in particular about some of the most recently appointed. 

  • 1. 8 are Europeans (United Kingdom, Spain, France, Belgium and 4 from Italy). 6 are Asian (South Korea, 2 from India, Singapore, Mongolia and East Timor), 5 are from America (2 from Brazil, the United States, Paraguay and Colombia);
  • 2. The youngest Cardinal is Monsignor Giorgio Marengo, an Italian Bishop working as Apostolic Prefect in the capital of Mongolia. Monsignor Marengo will be 48 on June 7, 2022, thus becoming the youngest of all the Catholic Cardinals. There are only some 1,400 people in his “diocese.” He is also the first Consolata Religious to be appointed Cardinal.
  • 3. John Paul II was 47 when he was elected Cardinal. To date the youngest Cardinal has been the Archbishop of Bangui, in the Central African Republic: Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, who is 55.
  • 4. The Church’s first Dalit Cardinal in history is the Indian Archbishop of Hyderabad, Anthony Poola. The Dalits or “Untouchables” are the poorest and most discriminated caste in Indian society. Their discrimination stems from Hindu cosmovision, of which yoga stems. Hinduism justifies and promotes this vision.
  • 5. Paraguay, the most Catholic country of America (by proportion of population), has its first Cardinal in the person of the Archbishop of Asunción, Adalberto Martínez Flores.
  • 6. Spanish Fernando Vergez is the first Religious of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ to be appointed Cardinal.
  • 7. The August 27 Consistory, in which the  Pope will create the Cardinals, is the eighth of Pope Francis’ Pontificate.
  • 8. At the close of the publication of this article, the total number of Cardinals is 229, of whom 132 could vote in the near-future Conclave. These 132 Cardinal Electors exceed the number of 120 Cardinals established by Paul VI. However, both Benedict XVI as well as John Paul II exceeded the number of Cardinal Electors in several Consistories. Over the next four months, four Cardinals will be 80 and so will be unable to vote. Thus the number of Cardinal Electors would be 128. For September of 2023, the “canonical” number of 120 Electors would remain as such.
  • 9. The geographical distribution of the 132 Electors would be:

Europe: 53 (50 for the end of 2022 and 44 for September, 2023)

Latin America: 24 (will decrease to 21 at the end of the year)

Asia: 21

Africa: 17

North America: 14

Oceania: 3

  • 10. The most numerous Cardinals are the Italians with 21 Princes of the Church (18 at the end of 2022 and 13 for September 2023)
  • 11. The countries with the most Cardinal Electors are:

The United States: 10 (5 created by Pope Francis)

Spain: 6 (5 created by Pope Francis)

Brazil: 6 (4 appointed by Pope Francis)

France: 5

India: 5

Canada: 4

Mexico: 3

Poland: 3

Portugal: 3

Germany: 3

  •  12. The Cardinals from Religious Orders or Congregations number 53, of whom 26 are Cardinal Electors. The Congregations with the largest     number of Cardinals are the Salesians: 11 (5 Electors) and the Jesuits: 7 (4 Electors)

Many ecclesial commentators note that it’s not understood why dioceses with a greater proportion of Catholics (such as Los Angeles, Milan, Paris or Monterrey in Mexico) have been ignored. Also not understood is why the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics and the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States were not given a biretta or, for that matter, no Bishop of the Eastern Catholic Rite, a realm that the Pope has often admired for observing the synodal sense. 

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Jorge Enrique Mújica

Licenciado en filosofía por el Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, de Roma, y “veterano” colaborador de medios impresos y digitales sobre argumentos religiosos y de comunicación. En la cuenta de Twitter:, habla de Dios e internet y Church and media: evangelidigitalización."

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