When the consistory to create new cardinals for the college was announced, I mentioned that the list is not iron-clad, and that new names could be added up to the date of the event. I said that because of the coming big re-organization of the Roman Curia and the expected replacement of major members of the curia, including Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State.
Sodano is at retirement age and disagreements between him and the Pope have been talked about frequently. Thus, it was expected that his replacement, if he wasn’t already a cardinal, would be named before the consistory so that he could be elevated immediately. As the Number 2 official of the Holy See, the Secretary of State is always a cardinal. But no new name has come. What does that mean? One of three possibilities.
The man that Pope Benedict plans to name as the new Secretary of State could already be a cardinal. Or he’s not yet a cardinal, but the Pope plans to hold yearly, smaller consistories as some have suggested, replacing cardinals who are not eligible to vote in conclave more regularly. Thus the new Secretary of State, if not yet a cardinal, would only remain an archbishop for a year at most—similar to the situation of Archbishop William Levada, head of the CDF. Or, what I consider the least likely, the Holy Father doesn’t intend to replace Sodano anytime soon.