Saturday, February 21, 2009

Of Saints and Senators

This morning, the Pope presided over the aforementioned public consistory to approve ten causes of canonization, which took place during Midday Prayer in the Apostolic Palace.

With Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu in attendance, Benedict XVI set 11 October as the canonization date for both Blessed Damien deVeuster, the "leper priest" of Molokai and Blessed Jeanne Jugan, the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Three other blesseds will likewise be elevated on that date in Rome, most likely in an outdoor Mass in St Peter's Square, while the remaining five will be formally declared saints on 26 April.

Speaking of consistories, some have asked of late when the College of Cardinals will see its next intake.

The last consistory took place in November 2007, when B16 elevated 23 cardinals, 18 of them under 80. As of this writing, the papal "senate" stands only five members short of its maximum complement of 120 cardinal-electors under age 80; barring deaths, just three more slots will open before 2009's end.

While the possibility for a small class later this year remains viable in some segments of the mill, the more likely bet is a new helping of scarlet moiré in 2010, when no less than eleven electors become ineligible to vote in a conclave.

And in the meantime, let the shortlisting begin... that is, in case it already hasn't.