Thursday, Dec 08, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Religion

Electing a pope: conclave, oath, chimney smoke

Pope Benedict XVI's resignation sets in motion a complex sequence of events to elect the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The laws governing the selection are the same as those in force after a papal death. Here is the procedure:

— The Vatican summons a conclave of cardinals that must begin 15-20 days after Benedict's Feb. 28 resignation.

— Cardinals eligible to vote — those under age 80 — are sequestered within Vatican City and take an oath of secrecy.

— Any baptized Roman Catholic male is eligible for election as pope, but only cardinals have been selected since 1378.

— Two ballots held each morning and two each afternoon in the Sistine Chapel. A two-thirds majority is required. Benedict in 2007 reverted back to this two-thirds majority rule, reversing a 1996 decision by Pope John Paul II, who had decreed that a simple majority could be invoked after about 12 days of inconclusive voting.

— Ballots are burned after each round. Black smoke means no decision; white smoke signals that cardinals have chosen pope and he has accepted. Bells also signal the election of a pope to help avoid possible confusion over color of smoke coming from chimney of the Sistine Chapel.

— The new pope is introduced from the loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square with the words “Habemus Papam!” (Latin for “We have a pope!") and he imparts his first blessing.

Click to comment

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem?

Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet.

Copyright © 2015 Toledo Blade

To Top

Fetching stories…