July 16, 2010.
Before the year is out, the pope will likely call a consistory to name new cardinals.
Only 107 members of the College of Cardinals currently can vote during a papal vacancy; the maximum number allowed is 120.
Upon turning age 80, a cardinal retains his title, but can no longer participate in a conclave vote. By October 2010, five more cardinals will turn 80.
In autumn, the pope is expected to announce a list of at least 18 new cardinals. It will likely include archbishops of cardinalate sees, such as the Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Munich Reinhard Marx, the primate of Spain Archbishop of Toledo Braulio Rodriguez Plaza and the Archbishop of Warsaw Kazimierz Nycz.
The pope also could make cardinals of the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints Angelo Amato, the American prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura Raymond Burke or the prefect of the Pontifical Council for Culture Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi.
The last consistory was in November 2007.
Cardinals are identifiable by their scarlet garments—including the cassock and mozzetta, the clerical robes, and the biretta and zucchetto, the hats clergy wear. The color is meant to symbolize the cardinals' willingness “to shed blood for the increase of the Christian faith.”
Cardinals are generally appointed to be members of Vatican agencies. They participate in consistories for important Church discussions and conclaves to select the new pope.
The pope is generally chosen from members of the College of Cardinals, though technically any unmarried, Catholic male could be chosen.