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More saints, cardinals on horizon

National Catholic Reporter Rome correspondent John Allen has drawn up a list of Archbishops he believes could be appointed to the College of Cardinals later this year, perhaps as early as the 29 June Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

He said he believes the is a urgency to appoint more cardinals because there are now only 119 cardinals under the age of 80, and hence eligible to vote in a papal election. Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz of Poland recently acknowledged being 81 instead of 76. He had lied about his age as a young man to avoid conscription in the Red Army in Lithuania. In March, two more cardinals will cross the 80-year-old threshold. In 2003 two of Australia's three Cardinals turned 80.

Included in Allen's list of 'probable' candidates are Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, 59, Polish, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, 67, English, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois, 62, Paris, France.

The list includes 16 'probably', 11 'possible', 8 'long-shots', and 6 'ones to watch'.

The cardinals would be named in a consistory. Allen says an argument against a consistory in 2005 is that John Paul has already held nine consistories over the course of his 26-year pontificate.

"What is most significant about a consistory is that it reshapes the politics of the next papal election, by adding new electors and, at least theoretically, new candidates," he says.

Meanwhile the Church will soon have five new saints - a Chilean, two Poles and two Italians - according to the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. The date of the canonisation of the future saints will be made public next week on Thursday at a public consistory in Clementine Hall.

Decrees recognizing the respective miracles that led the way to this proclamation were promulgated last year. Among the future saints is Blessed Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, a Chilean Jesuit (1901-1952), considered one of the most outstanding figures of the Church in his country.

John L Allen: Looking ahead to a consistory and an election (National Catholic Reporter 18/2/05)
Five to be canonized as saints ( 20/2/05)

5 to Be Canonized as Saints (Zenit 16/2/05)
Consistory to vote on several causes of canonization (Vatican Information Service 16/2/05)
Beatification Date Reported for Foucauld (Zenit 18/2/05)

21 Feb 2005