How come there are so many Italian Cardinals?

I just looked up the list of Catholic Cardinals by nationality and saw that Italy has 48 Cardinals which is almost three times as many as the second nation to have Cardinals.

So I’m wondering why does Italy have so many cardinals and would this be a reason why so many Italian Cardinals have become popes throughout the centuries?

Well cardinals are by definition bishops of titular sees in the Province of Rome (at least mostly) and the pope is the Bishop of Rome. I don’t think it’s surprising that many cardinals and popes were Italian considering Rome is in Italy. :stuck_out_tongue:

someone has to have the most.

I know, I guess with a population of 59 million and 57 million identify as Catholic you would need 48 Cardinals.

Well, the Vatican is in Rome and Rome is in Italy is why. :thumbsup:

You have a better shot of catching the boss’s eye when you live near the home office. :smiley:
Same reason why there always were Italian Popes. Communication and travel innovations in the last 50 years has changed everything. Now clerics from all over the world know each other, can read each other, and can converse easily with each other, read their publications, etc.

NOTE: of the 48 Cardinals from Italy, only 26 can vote

Italy has the most for several reasons (I list some reasons below):

  1. at least 29 of the living 48 originally became Cardinal-Deacons due to their work in the Roman Curia. Plus, Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin went straight to Cardinal-Priest even though he never lead a diocese (Most of the Curia is historically made up of Italians, as they have enough priests to take of their flock and the Curia, at least compared against other nations, and are local).

  2. others are Archbishops of major archdioceses, which have historically been granted Cardinal status.

  3. many were also Apostolic Pro-Nuncios and/or representatives to international bodies, again a lot of these have been Italians.

  4. at least 4 or 5 Italian Cardinals were created Cardinal after his 80th birthday, meaning he could never vote. For example: Cardinal Capovilla was created Cardinal by Pope Francis this year, when he was 98 years old.

NOW, what’s really shocking isn’t the number of Italian Cardinals, it’s the number of American Cardinals. The United States has the 2nd most, with 18 Cardinals (11 voting)

In the future, as the Roman Curia starts to be lead by more international priests/bishops (like Cardinals Burke, Pell and Muller), I suspect the number of Italian Cardinals will decrease. But even if their numbers do decrease, I would imagine they will still most likely still have the most for the foreseeable future.

Yet the Philippines only has 5 cardinals and a much larger Catholic population than the US…

I think their numbers have been steadily decreasing over the last few decades.

Note that in the US there is a disproportionate number of Cardinals in the north-east. The adjacent dioceses of Washington, DC and Baltimore both have cardinals because Washington is the capitol and Baltimore is the first diocese.

The Church changes slowly, but it changes. What doesn’t get done in this century will be thought about in the next. :wink:

It’s important to point out the history of them

newadvent.org/cathen/03333b.htm

They were to help the Bishop of Rome with his duties around Rome. So, naturally, they were Italian

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.