Why stop at 30?
There’s a saying in Italy along the lines of ‘whoever makes 30, can make 31’. Essentially, it means ‘you’ve come this far, a little bit more won’t hurt’. It’s a proverb that dates back to the time of Pope Leo X in the 16th century. In 1517, he was tasked with drawing up a list of new cardinals. To make his mark, rather than choosing a handful, the pope nominated 12 new names to become cardinal. Then increased that number to 20. Next time officials at the Vatican saw the list, it had grown to 27. And then 30.
As eyebrows were raised by existing cardinals, the pope promised he was done, and that no more than 30 new cardinals were to be nominated. Finally, it came to election day when the cardinals would be appointed and the Pope realized he had left off one vital name from his list. So he added it, and with a twinkle in his eye declared “we had 30, why not 31?” and the saying was born.