Australian cardinal expected to retire
Cardinal Edward Iris Cassidy, President of the Vatican's Council for Christian Unity is one of several high-level Vatican officials aged over 75 and expected to retire soon.
The Tablet reports that others in line for retirement are Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; and Archbishop Jorge Mejía, Prefect of the Vatican Library and the Secret Archives.
At the same time, Pope John Paul II is thought to be planning to create at least 25 new cardinals at a consistory in the new year. The appointments, combined with the likely retirements, should take the number of the papal electors in the College of Cardinals up to the permitted maximum of 120.
All cardinals under the age of 80 can vote in a conclave to elect a new Pope, but at present only 97 are eligible. The limits on the age of cardinal-electors and the ceiling on total numbers of the College of Cardinals were introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1973.
The Tablet's sources in Rome say the Pope is likely to wait for the end of the Jubilee Year for the next consistory because he has a heavy program at present and is making changes in the papal civil service, the Roman Curia.
Among recent moves are the appointment of Archbishop Giovanni Battista Re as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, with Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, nuncio in Venezuela, replacing Re in the Vatican Secretariat of State. Patriarch Ignace Moussa I Daoud of Antioch becomes prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches in place of Cardinal Achille Silvestrini.