Suddenly born in 1946 instead of 1944

Cardinal gets younger – and remains eligible to be elected pope

Vatican City - The 80th birthday is an important date for cardinals. On this day, they lose their offices in the Vatican and the right to elect the Pope. Now one of them has added a year to his age – by being recognised as younger.

Published  on 25.04.2024 at 14:01  – 

At the ripe old age of around 80, Kenyan Cardinal John Njue has suddenly become more than a year younger - at least on paper. The official Vatican directory of personnel and institutions now lists the date of birth of the former Archbishop of Nairobi as 1 January 1946. The previous editions of the "Annuario pontificio" (Papal Yearbook) still listed the cleric from Embu with the vague date of birth "1944".

Since, as his English Wikipedia entry states, the exact date of birth is apparently not certain, the Vatican has so far considered 31 December 1944 to be the latest possible date of birth for the cardinal. This means that Njue would have lost his eligibility to be elected pope at the end of the year (31 December 2024).

Due to the new date of birth, which has also been published by the Vatican press office, the African cardinal's eligibility to participate in a future conclave will now only expire on 1 January 2026. He will also remain a member of the Vatican Dicastery for Evangelisation for that long - exactly 366 days longer than previously assumed. Benedict XVI appointed Njue to the College of Cardinals in 2007. Pope Francis accepted his age-related resignation as Archbishop of Nairobi on 4 January 2021 - three days after his new 75th birthday. (KNA)