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Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri turns 80, reducing electoral college to 120


Card. Lorenzo Baldisseri has turned 80 years old. His age now disqualifies him from voting in a conclave.

He's a clergyman with a lot of experience at the Vatican. He was a nuncio and second-in-command of the Congregation for Bishops. He's a huge lover of classical music and piano. In fact, he's given a few Christmas benefit concerts.

MSGR. LORENZO BALDISSERI
Secretary, Congregation for Bishops
“The piano for me is a companion. I remember Nelson Freire, a great pianist, once said, 'I play the piano and can tell if it loves me or not.' It's kind of like that. In 1991, I bought one, and this piano has accompanied me, from Paraguay to India, from India to Brazil, and now in Rome.”

In 2012, Benedict XVI named him secretary of the College of Cardinals. Thus, he was allowed to participate in the conclave that elected Pope Francis. As per tradition, Baldisseri, as secretary, collected the newly elected pope's red cardinal's cap, a foreshadow of what was to happen a year later, when Pope Francis would name Baldisseri cardinal. It isn't out of the ordinary for secretaries of the College of Cardinals to be named cardinals sooner or later. 

In the case of Lorenzo Baldisseri however, it seems that the pope, after the conclave, jokingly placed the cap directly on his head instead of simply handing it to him.

Pope Francis named him secretary general of the Synod of Bishops in 2014, a role he carried out until September 2020. This means he led all of Pope Francis' synods, including that on the family and the youth and the one on the Amazon.

CARD. LORENZO BALDISSERI
Secretary General, Synod of Bishops 2018
“What do young people want in the Church? They want transparency, honesty, openness, welcome and credibility. These are the questions that have emerged in recent years.”

At 80 years old, he becomes a non-elector cardinal. The group that can vote for a new pope in a conclave is made up of 120. There would be 121, but Card. Becciu lost this right.

Javier Romero

Translation: CT