Cardinal Maradiaga celebrates his 80th birthday

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, close adviser to Pope Francis, celebrates his 80th birthday this Thursday, December 29. From this age, the cardinals lose the right to vote for the next pope, in the event of a conclave.

Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga has until recently been considered as “papable”, that is to say as a possible successor to Benedict XVI and then to Francis. As usual, he now sees his chances of becoming pope disappearing. Indeed, the cardinals eligible to become pope are generally themselves electing members of the Sacred College.

A commitment in favor of the poorest

Born in 1942 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, member of the religious institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco, he was ordained a priest in 1970. He obtained doctorates in philosophy and theology at the Don Rua Institute, at the Pontifical Salesian University and at the Pontifical Lateran University. He also holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Innsbruck.

Appointed Archbishop of Tegucigalpa in 1993 by John Paul II, the capital of Honduras, he is known for his pastoral commitment in favor of the poor of his country and his fight at the international level for the cancellation of Third World debt.

Cardinal Maradiaga is the coordinator of the Council of Cardinals, created in 2013 by Pope Francis to help him reform the Roman curia and advise it in the government of the Church. In 2017, he was accused by an Italian newspaper of personal enrichment on sums intended for the Catholic University of Honduras. Allegations he vigorously denied.

The College of Cardinals now has 224 members, including 125 electors (under the age of 80). Among them, 50 are European (of which 18 are Italian), 21 come from Asia and 16 from Africa. In addition, 16 are from North America, 14 from South America and 5 from Central America. The Sacred College also has 3 Oceanian cardinal electors. According to a count prepared by The cross24 have been or are currently members of the Roman Curia.

The College of Cardinals has four French electors: Jean-Marc Aveline (63 years old), Philippe Barbarin (72 years old), Dominique Mamberti (70 years old) and Jean-Pierre Ricard (78 years old). There are also two Frenchmen among the 99 non-voters, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, 80 years old since last November, and Cardinal Paul Poupard, 92 years old.


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