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Mapping the College of Cardinals

With a class this week explaining the college of cardinals and other aspects of the Catholic hierarchy to some undergrads, in honor of the weekend’s consistory creating 20 new princes of the Church, I found a few helpful resources worth sharing.

The Vatican’s website has upped its game, in offering some new statistics on the College of Cardinals. You can find lists by name, age, or nationality. Graphs indicating the distribution of cardinals according to the pope that appointed them, the percentage of electors vs. emeriti, or how many serve in the curia. The graph below breaks down membership according to geographical region.

cardinalgraph

The independent Catholic-hierarchy.com has already updated its lists, which can be sorted by various values.

The incomparable CGP Grey offers some illumination in his clip “How to become pope”, meant for popular consumption.

There are of course more academic articles, historical sources, and ecclesiological treatises, plus reform suggestions that range from adding women cardinals to eliminating the sacred college altogether. There are interviews with the new cardinals (one reporter shared that Italian colleagues were getting bent out of shape upon realizing that some of the new wearers of scarlet did not speak a word of Italian beyond “ciao”.)

One thing I could not find was a map indicating where the cardinals were from. Something to give visual aid to the question of a more globalized Church reflected in a more globalized college. So I created one.

Click on the (scarlet) pins to see basic information about each cardinal.

Residential cardinals – that is, those cardinal-presbyters who are bishops or archbishops of dioceses around the world – are located according to their See.

Curial cardinals – mostly cardinal-deacons serving in the Roman Curia – are located according to their place of birth (and they represent 28% of the total electorate).

There are options to see retired/over-80 cardinals, too, also organized by curia or diocese. Their pins are a lighter shade of scarlet (cough… pink… cough).

A couple of immediate observations, beyond the overcrowding of Italy, were some of the wide open areas without any: No Scandinavian cardinals, none from easternmost Europe or central Asia. For China, only Hong Kong.

In the US, all but one of the diocesan cardinals are from the eastern half of the country, and that even counts the retirees. There is a small corridor from the great lakes to the north Atlantic coast that accounts for the overwhelming majority of North American cardinals, leaving one thinking it might be time to move some of those pins to the likes of Vancouver, Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis or Atlanta. Or, if we want to go peripheral, maybe Tucson, Honolulu, and Juneau.

Would love to hear thoughts,take corrections, or hear it has been used by other teachers.

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