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Cardinal's 80th weakens Australian voice at Conclave

Australian Cardinal Edward Cassidy turned 80 yesterday, meaning the Australian Church's sole representative at the Conclave to elect the next Pope will be Sydney's Cardinal George Pell.

This time last year, Australia had a disproportionately high representation, which also included former Sydney Archbishop Cardinal Edward Clancy, who turned 80 in December. Cardinals lose their right to vote for the next Pope when they reach the age of 80.

Sydney-born Cardinal Edward Cassidy was ordained for the Diocese of Wagga Wagga in 1949. He is the former president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. He spent most of his working life as a diplomat, serving in India, Ireland, El Salvador, Argentina, Taiwan, Bangladesh, South Africa, and the Netherlands.

Returning to Rome in 1988, he was an assistant Secretary of State for some months before being named president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in 1989, remaining in that post until his retirement in 2001. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II in 1991.

There are now 190 members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 124 are eligible to vote in a conclave.

Cardinal Cassidy marks 80th birthday (Catholic World News 5/7/04)

Clancy loses papal conclave voting right (CathNews 17/12/03)
Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy (
Australian cardinal defends Pope's fitness for the job (CathNews 19/4/02)
Newspaper says elderly cardinals seeking vote in conclave (CathNews 24/10/03)
Cassidy's open ears a sign of hope for dialogue - Cardinal Edward Cassidy addresses Catholic-Jewish conference (National Catholic Reporter 14/5/99)

6 Jul 2004