VATICAN officials have revealed that a Polish cardinal is ineligible to vote in a papal election, despite Church documents listing his age as 76, four years younger than the voting age limit. Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz, the former Archbishop of Wroclaw, is in fact 81.
And last week the oldest member of the College of Cardinals, Corrado Bafile, died on February 3 at the age of 101.
Cardinal Gulbinowicz is listed in Annuario Pontifico, the official Vatican yearbook, as having been born in 1928. But a member of the Curia has revealed that the Polish cardinal was actually born five years earlier in 1923.
The unnamed official said that the Curia was aware of the discrepancy between his real and listed age, and that this was not a cause for concern. “The Cardinal surely will not enter the conclave” when Pope John Paul II dies, the official said. He added that Cardinal Gulbinowicz would be far too honest to try to participate in a papal election under false pretences, adding that “there are indications” the Vatican has reached a tacit agreement with Cardinal Gulbinowicz on the question.
The official explained that the Cardinal’s date of birth had been altered by his parents in order to render him ineligible for Russian military service. Lithuania, where his family lived, was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1944.
Editorial comment: Page 11