16 new cardinal electors have been announced for August, it will actually raise the number of electors to 132 (12 beyond the limit).
If this seems odd, the fact that only 3 of the cardinals appear clear progressives might be even more surprising. Pope Francis won’t get to appoint additional cardinals for quite a while and considering his health, this may very well be the last cardinals he appoints and he didn’t really stack the deck. He didn’t make James Martin a cardinal or many other possible controversial figures other than Roche.
A subtle insult against the conservative wing was the fact that he added only 2 additional Africans and no Eastern European cardinals. But the Germans, Austrians and Swiss got passed over as well. Francis went for the third world and obscure figures with a few progressives. He might have wasted his ultimate chance the rig the next conclave.
But the big provocation was McElroy. Especially in the context of the current Pelosi communion debate.
McElroy is the fifth American Francis cardinal and the fifth McCarrick protegee. A man criticized for failing to act on his knowledge regarding McCarrick. Any attempt to pretend Francis values abuse victims over power politics is futile at this point.
Of course James Martin celebrates McElroy’s pro-LGBT record which I guess makes his shielding of a pederast rapist alright.
He may have furthered resistance against ‘gradual reforms’ this way. He may have boosted the call to declare the 2013 conclave invalid.
But why the rush with the cardinals and why the sudden enactment of a cosmetic curia reform (that took 9 years)?
Just how bad is his health? What is going on with all the power politics in the Vatican? Why is Benedict XVI the eldest living pope of all time? Why does he still speak out on very rare occasions? Why the disputed interviews in which Benedict supposedly says he resigned willingly? How will Francis respond to the trial of Cardinal Zen? The testimony of Becciu?
Will we get a The Godfather Part IV?