On October 9, 2016, Pope Francis announced the creation of 17 new cardinals to take place next November at the Vatican, on the eve of the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pope Francis has said before that being selected to become a cardinal is not a sign of honour but one of service. “Total openness to serving others is the hallmark of the cardinal; it alone is our title of honour”. But how much do we really know about cardinals? Here are some interesting facts about what constitutes a cardinal: what they wear, what they do and what they eat (not really, I have no idea what they eat).
In 1970, Pope Paul VI published a Motu Proprio on the arrangement of the College of Cardinals. He set the number of cardinal electors to 120 and only cardinals under the age of 80 could have the right to vote in a conclave.
There are, traditionally, 3 types of cardinals: cardinal-bishops, cardinal-priests and cardinal-deacons who, between themselves, establish a hierarchy but which today operates more as a formality.
A cardinal is identified with the color purple, which is typically closer to a scarlet red, to signify Jesus’ blood poured out.
Their main role is to assist or advise the Pope in matters of governance and in accomplishing the mission of the Church. And choose the successor of Peter after the death of a Pope. On the other hand, the Pope hand picks each cardinal, according to certain criteria.
There are 111 cardinals electors in the world today and 100 non electors (not counting the newly named cardinals).
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