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Cardinal facts

VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- In 1059, cardinals became the sole electors of the pope.

In 1586 Pope Sixtus V established the number of allowable cardinals at 70.

In 1875 Pius IX appointed the very first cardinal in the Western Hemisphere, John McCloskey of New York.

Under Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) Italians lost their majority of the college.

Pope John XXIII (1958- 1963) pushed the size of the college above 70.

In 1960 John XXIII appointed the first native African to the college, Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa of Tanzania.

In 1963 at the death of John XXIII the college was 64 percent European.

Pope Paul VI (1963- 1978) brought the college to 144.

Under Paul VI Europeans lost their majority of the college (by 1978 at the death of Paul VI the college was 44 percent European).

The 1978 Conclave elected John Paul II the first non-Italian pope since the 16th century.

Pope John Paul II has pushed the college to its biggest in history -- 184 cardinals.

John Paul II has personally created more cardinals than any other pope in the history of the church. He named 201 cardinals during his pontificate of which 160 are alive today.

John Paul II has had eight consistories for the creation of cardinals: 1979, 14 cardinals; 1983, 18 cardinals; 1985, 28 cardinals; 1988, 25 cardinals; 1991, 22 cardinals; 1994, 30 cardinals; 1998, 20 cardinals (plus 2 named in pectore); 2001, 44 cardinals, (including the 2 in pectore).

Of the 201 cardinals he named during his pontificate, 44 were Italian, bringing the current percentage of Italian cardinals to 21.7 percent, its lowest point in history.

Under Pope John Paul II, a combined Europe has just over half the college -- 52.1 percent. (Italy contributes 21.7 percent, Western Europe 20.6 percent and Eastern Europe 9.7 percent). Latin America has 17.9 percent, North America 9.7 percent, Asia 9.2 percent, Africa 8.6 percent, and Oceania 2.1 percent.

Looking only at electors, a combined Europe has less than half the college -- 48.1 percent (Italy contributes 17.7 percent, Western Europe with 20 percent and Eastern Europe with 10.3 percent). Latin America has 20 percent, North America 9.6 percent, Asia 9.6 percent, Africa 9.6 percent, and Oceania 2.9 percent.

Notice: Latin America has more electors than Italy and the same number as Western Europe.

If a conclave were held today, the electors would hail from 61 countries and over half the voters would be non-European.

Italy would have the largest national bloc of voters with 24. The USA would come second with 11, and Brazil and Germany would be tied for third place with 7 electors each.

This is the largest number of Cardinals in history, from the greatest number of regions and countries in history, who have ever been charged with coming together and forming a consensus to elect one supreme pontiff.

Pope names more cardinals
January 28, 2001
Pope appoints 37 cardinals
January 21, 2001
Pope ends Catholic Holy Year
January 6, 2001
Holy Door rush prompts Vatican action
January 4, 2001
World wishes Pope John Paul II a happy 80th birthday
May 18, 2000

The Vatican
The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
Pope John Paul

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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