Pope likely to appoint more cardinals to elect his successor
With several cardinals turning 80 and being rendered ineligible to take part in the election of the next pope, rumours suggest the Holy Father will create 25 new cardinals in February.
Sources of the Vatican news agency Zenit claim the Pope will make the announcement on either 8 December or 6 January.
Cardinal Eugênio Araújo Sales, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, turned 80 last week, losing his status as a cardinal elector in case of a conclave. Cardinals Hyacinthe Thiandoum of Senegal and Antonio María Javierre of Spain will turn 80 in February.
The College of Cardinals has 97 electors under the age of 80 who could vote for a new pope. 45 are over voting age, and two others are cardinals in secret, known only to the Pope.