However, after what had been a long hiatus, I was talking, this weekend, with cardinalabili expert Louis Epstein. He believes that Pope Francis will wait till February 2017 given that both his prior cardinal creating consistories were in February.
He definitely has the option of waiting till February or even later.
We have 111 cardinal electors right now. Three will age-out (i.e., reach 80) by November 19, 2016. Three more would have aged out by February 16, 2017.
So, barring deaths, there will be 108 electors in November 2016 and 105 in February 2017. This is plenty enough to elect a pope.
So this again begs the question as to whether Pope Francis, who turns 80 on December 17, 2016, plans to retire anytime soon as he has been intimating for ‘years’. Louis thinks that Francis is having too much fun right now to retire. He could be right. If he doesn’t plan to retire before February 2017 he could very well wait till then for the next consistory.
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