25 March: The Bandwagon Grows....
Well, the rumours that a consistory for the creation of new cardinals will be held on the Solemnity of the Annunciation got a firm boost this morning from Andrea Tornielli in Il Giornale.
"Ratzinger plans new cardinals, curial changes for his Church"Tornielli goes on to state that it seems the Pope will respect the limit -- set by Paul VI, discarded by John Paul II -- of a maximum of 120 cardinal-electors. He reports that the Pope was asked by one of his collaborators within days of his election when a consistory will be held, and Benedict is said to have replied, in a reference to the current college: "Stay calm, there are already many of them."
The first consistory for the creation of new cardinals in the pontificate of Benedict XVI could be called before the end of this month and celebrated next 25 March. If the leaks which come from the Oltretevere [a nickname for the Vatican] Palaces are confirmed, it means that Papa Ratzinger has decided to appoint the new cardinals before the changes in the top ranks of the Roman Curia, expected between April and June. Many observers await what has been defined since last fall as the tsunami of curial appointments. In reality, Benedict XVI has within recent weeks stabilised things to leave them as they've been for a year, giving way to a reshuffle which would involve the heads of the Secretariat of State and the various dicasteries of the Holy See led by prelates who have already exceeded the canonical [retirement] age of 75. As in Munich, where he arrived as archbishop in 1977, and then in the Vatican, Ratzinger has always waited one year before moving anyone.
And now, the (speculated) nominees....
First of all, and for the first time, Boston's Sean O'Malley has popped up as a likely cardinal-designate in Tornielli's soundings.
Beyond O'Malley, the usual curial suspects -- Comastri, Vallini, Levada, Rode', Rylko and Cordes -- are all named. (By virtue of his seniority in the curial pecking order, Levada would be listed first on a biglietto, the "ticket" which lists the new cardinals, and would render the traditional omaggio to the Pope in the name of the consistory class.)
From the archdioceses of the world, there's Carlo Caffara of Bologna, Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, Stanislaw Dziwisz, O'Malley and (grazie Dio), the archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin -- whose elevation would put the red hat firmly in the hands of the capital of the Irish Republic as opposed to the historical honoree of Armagh, the primatial see of All Ireland.
The travel agents are getting pumped. Stay tuned.