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Updated birthdate makes Cardinal John Njeu younger – and still eligible to vote in conclave

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The Pontifical Yearbook for the year 2024 has been updated — surprising some with the new additions.

Alongside the pope’s reinstatement of the title of Patriarch of the West, the date of a cardinal’s birth has now been corrected.

The change means the Cardinal of Kenya, John Njue, who was to turn 80 at the end of the year and therefore no longer be eligible to vote in a conclave, will be able to do so for two more years, until 2026.

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In past directories, Nairobi’s Archbishop Emeritus’ birthday was listed as 1944. Meaning, he would be 79 years old.

The source of this error is that the year he was born in Kenya was known, but not the specific day or month.

When this happens, the date of birth is usually set as 31 December. But what is not known is how his actual birth year was discovered.

Now, both in the yearbook and on the Vatican website, the Cardinal’s date of birth is 1 January, 1946.

This means he is officially 78 years old and will be able to vote in the conclave until 1 January, 2026.

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