Skip to comments.(LIVE THREAD) The Papal Conclave, Interregnum, Cardinals, Conclave Facts, Prayer and other links
Posted on 04/16/2005 9:08:24 PM PDT by Salvation
The Vacancy of the Holy See
The period between the death or resignation of a Pope and the election of his successor, when the See of Peter is vacant, is called the Interregnum. This Latin term means between the reign (of one Pope and another). It is a period governed by papal law, which admits of no changes to Church governance, or to the spiritual or material patrimony of St. Peter, save the election of his successor.
The College of Cardinals
The College exists to advise the Pope in the governance of the Catholic Church and to elect his successor should he die or resign. Its members consist of officials of the Roman Curia, archbishops of major sees from around the world, and others chosen at the pleasure of the Pope.
Pope John Paul II has honored priests who are theologians, such as Henri De Lubac, S.J. and Avery Dulles, S.J. without requiring them to be ordained bishops, as is required by law.
Once named, a Cardinal holds the office for life. However, on his eightieth birthday he loses the privilege of voting in the Conclave to elect a Pope. He could still be elected.
Bishop of Ostia's role - Pope Mark (336) decided that the Bishop of Ostia, the port-city of Rome, should consecrate Popes. At this period in history, the electee was either a deacon or a priest of Rome, and so consecration to the episcopacy inaugurated his papacy. Today, the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia is the Dean of the College of Cardinals and retains the right to consecrate the Pope if he is not already a bishop.
Bishop Electees - Prior to the election of Marinus I in 882, the Popes had been chosen from among priests and deacons. Upon consecration to the episcopacy they became capable of being Pope and were, therefore, in that moment of consecration made both bishop and Pope. Bishops were not chosen because they were considered wedded to their diocese, and so the transference of a bishop from one diocese to another was considered uncanonical. Marino was already a bishop, however, so instead of being consecrated he was enthroned. After this time the practice of electing bishops occurred more and more frequently, so that it has become the norm. Since a bishop is already capable of being Pope, the electee becomes Pope in the moment of his acceptance of his election.
Counting Popes - In 752 the man elected to succeed Pope Zachary took the name Stephen II. However, since he died before being officially consecrated, by the canon law of the day he was not considered the Pope yet. Soon thereafter, a different Stephen took the name Stephen II . Almost a thousand years later the official numbering was changed. The short-lived Stephen II is still NOT listed among the Popes, but his name is accounted for by the renumbering of the listed Stephens, so that the official Stephen II is now Stephen II (III). This numbering change in the official list was applied to all the Stephens, down to Stephen IX (X) in 1057. However, since there have been no new Stephens since the renumbering, no Pope has had to decide which number of Stephen to take next.
Eastern Catholic Popes - A number of Eastern Catholics of Greek or Syrian origin have been elected Pope. The last Pope to be from the East, however, was Pope Zachary (741-52).
Election Reforms - Over the centuries the Popes instituted various election reforms aimed at limiting or removing the external influences of emperors, kings, Roman nobility and clerical factions, who sought to elect their candidate or demanded their consent for election validity. Many reforms did not last, of course, especially concerning the issue of "investiture" (secular princes requiring their consent for the election of bishops in their territory). However, the free process that the Church has come to take for granted is the result of the continual struggle to free the papacy from secular or ecclesiastical electioneering. See also History of Papal Electoral Law
Papal Names - Most of the early Popes kept their own names upon election. However, when the Roman priest Mercury was elected in 533 he took the name John II, so the Church would not have a Pope named after a pagan god. Thus began the practice of taking a new name which today is taken for granted.
Recent Conclaves - The record of recent Conclaves, the last 100 years, shows that the College elects a new Pope on average on the 3rd day in the afternoon, after about 8 ballots.
There are three phases to the election process. They are:
1) Pre-Scrutiny, during which ballots are prepared and distributed.
2) Scrutiny, during which the ballots are collected and counted.
3) Post-Scrutiny, during which the ballots are counted, checked and burned.
During the Pre-Scrutiny the ballots are prepared and distributed, and, 9 Electors are chosen by lot to serve as 3 Scrutineers, 3 Infirmarii and 3 Revisers.
After all ballots are in, including those brought from the sick by the Infirmarii, the 1st Scrutineer shakes the receptacle several times to mix the ballots. Then the 3rd Scrutineer counts them, placing them in a second, empty, receptacle. If the number of ballots does not equal the number of electors, they are burned, and a second vote taken immediately. Otherwise, the Scrutineers proceed to tabulate the vote.
Sitting at a table in front of the altar, the 1st Scrutineer silently reads the name on a ballot, passes it to the 2nd Scrutineer who does likewise, and then passes it to the 3rd Scrutineer, who reads the name aloud and then writes it down. Each Elector also writes it down on a sheet provided for this purpose. The ballot is then pierced with a needle through the word eligo (I elect) and placed on a thread for security.
When all ballots have been read the ends of the thread are tied in a knot and the ballots are placed in a receptacle on one end of the table.
The Scrutineers tabulate the vote count they recorded by individuals receiving votes. They do this on a separate sheet of paper from that on which the vote count was first made. The Revisers then verify the results.
I am trying to put all the facts in one place.
There has been coverage of the Papal Interregnum and Election Procedures and stuff about the Cardinals printed by the secular media.
But much of it has been in error, or to say the least, biased toward the liberal media's point of view.
This is strictly facts from a well known and respected Catholic site. There is too much here to post everything of interest, but hopefully I have hit the highlights.
If you wish to post anything else, please do so, or FReepmail me with the url and I will be glad to put it up.
Continue to pray for the Colllege of Cardinals.
May they submit totally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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This should be a good thread to follow the Conclave on. Thanks for the bump.
Thanks for putting this together.
You're welcome. I've just seen so much mis-information out there I thought this was necessary. Still a lot of info there.
I conferred with the chaplain of our lay religious group about the prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours during the interregnum. If there is a prayer for the Pope, it is to be skipped. "We have no Pope right now," he told me. We needed this information because in our breviary for the Easter season, Tuesday evening prayer includes a prayer for the Holy Father.
Great job! I'm tired of hearing network airheads drone on about this like it's a presidential election. They cannot fathom the spiritual aspects at all.
Yes, May the Holy Spirit give us a Good & Faithful servant!
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