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Who can be elected pope?
In the Light of the Law ^ | February 13, 2012 | Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap.

Posted on 02/14/2013 2:28:15 PM PST by NYer

It’s been more than 500 years since a non-cardinal was elected pope, but then, it’s been more than 500 years since a pope resigned, so, one moves cautiously to our question, who is eligible to be elected pope?

Turns out, lots of people.

Canon 332 § 1 of the 1983 Code simply states that one already a bishop (nb: not necessarily a cardinal) who accepts legitimate papal election becomes pope immediately. One who is not yet a bishop (and the Church has elected several non-bishops to the papacy) can accept election, but must be immediately consecrated bishop. By implication, that would seem to require that a papabile (a) be male, and be willing (b) to be baptized, (c) ordained deacon, priest, and bishop, and (d) have the use of reason in order to accept election and, if necessary, holy orders.

Or does it?

Skirting close to some important ecclesiological questions about ecclesiastical power and holy orders, the standard authors elaborate on the above-cited qualifications. In presenting them, allow me to underscore that canon law is an international legal system:

Capello, Summa (1951) I: 278: “Valide potest eligi quilibet vir, qui sit sui compos, capax acceptandi, membrum Ecclesiae, etiam laicus; licite qui omnibus qualitatibus praeditus sit, ita ut inter omnes dignior censeatur.

Sipos, Enchirdion (1954) 153: “Eligi potest quodlibet masculinum, usu rationis pollens, membrum Ecclesiae. Invalide ergo eligerentur foeminae, infantes, habituali amentia laborantes, non baptizati, haeretici, schismatici.”

(Claeys-Boùùaert), Traité (1954) I: 375: “Sont éligibles tous ceux qui, de droit divin ou ecclésiastique, ne sont pas exclus. Sont exclus les femmes, les enfants, les déments, les non baptizés, les hérétiques et les schismatiques. Un laïque peut être élu validement. Il convient toutefois que l’élu soit pris parmi les cardinaux.”

Eichmann-Mörsdorf, Kirchenrecht (1959) I: 356: “Über die Wählbarkeit fehlen nähere Bestimmungen. Grundsätzlich kann jedes männliche, vernunftbegabte Kirchenglied gewählt werden, also auch ein Laie.”

Abbo-Hannan, Sacred Canons (1960) I: 284-285: “For the validity of the papal election it suffices that the candidate elected be of the male sex, a baptized Catholic, capable of accepting the election and of exercising the jurisdiction attached to the office. For its lawfulness, that candidate must be elected who is considered the best qualified.”

(Alonso-Lobo), Comentarios (1963) I: 565: “Por derecho divino es elegible cualquier varón bautizado que tenga el uso de razón suficiente para aceptar la elección y ejercer la potestad de jurisdicción, aunque no sea todavía clérigo; de todas formas, los Cardenales no pueden elegir lícitamente a cualquiera, sino que deben fijarse en el que crean más digno.”

Interesting. Most commentators consider being a baptized (indeed, baptized Catholic) male with the use of reason as necessary for the validity of the election itself. So, one’s capacity and willingness to be ordained suffices for validity of election, but not one’s willingness to be baptized and ordained. I wonder what it is about being a member of the Mystical Body of Christ at the time of election that has most commentators talking about it impacting the validity of election? Hmmm.

Oh well, it’s going to be a cardinal, so the question’s moot.

Most likely.

Added: A couple folks, pursuing every rabbit trail (I mean that as a compliment), have asked whether a married man is eligible for the papacy. Answer, yes! Married men were ordained, even to the episcopate, in the ancient Church. Of course, they ceased living as married men upon reception of the diaconate (let alone priesthood and episcopate) but, cessation of conjugal living does not dissolve or annul one’s marriage, so, yes, a married man could be elected pope. That said, I think the odds are against that happening. :)

Added: List of Current Eligible Papal Electors

Added: VIS confirms today that the conclave will not start until March 15, at the earliest. This is how I read UDG; it seems the pope does not wish to derogate from it. Also, Fr. Lombardi notes that the “period” sede vacante begins March 1. This is correct, even though the Apostolic See is canonically vacant as of 8 PM the night before, for the “period” of a situation does not begin until the first full day thereof. Oddity of canonical computation of time (c. 203), that.


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History
KEYWORDS: catholic; papalconclave

1 posted on 02/14/2013 2:28:18 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

A married man ... hmmm ... any volunteers from among the catholic freepers?


2 posted on 02/14/2013 2:29:51 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

too bad Obama’s not Catholic...


3 posted on 02/14/2013 2:35:46 PM PST by bigbob
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To: NYer

My understanding has always been that it is anyone the Holy Spirit moves the conclave to elect. Cardinals make the law after all.
Therefore Pope Ouchtantonehurt I is still a possibility!


4 posted on 02/14/2013 2:36:09 PM PST by Ouchthatonehurt ("When you're going through hell, keep going." - Sir Winston Churchill)
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To: NYer

Hey fellas, I'm a Catholic!
Damn good one too.
Just sayin'...

5 posted on 02/14/2013 2:37:48 PM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: NYer
ordained deacon, priest, and bishop,

Hmmm ...

Problem here is we don't consecrate married men as bishops.

Otherwise, I'd kindly offer my services ...

Not sure if the world is ready for Pope Bustard, anyway.

6 posted on 02/14/2013 2:39:23 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: billorites
One of the requirements is "(d) have the use of reason"

That kinda excludes Slow Joe.

7 posted on 02/14/2013 2:40:44 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: NYer

Nancy Pelosi is going to be consumed with Papal envy...


8 posted on 02/14/2013 2:46:24 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: NYer

I’m leaning toward Cardinal Angelo Scola. I’m traditional.


9 posted on 02/14/2013 2:59:13 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer

I not married and a Catholic

I thereby nonimate myself for the office of Pope

Any freepers volunteer as my campaign manager.....?


10 posted on 02/14/2013 3:17:35 PM PST by njslim (St)
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To: bigbob

Ineligibility never stopped him before, why should such a minor detail stop him now?


11 posted on 02/14/2013 3:28:05 PM PST by Houghton M.
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To: bigbob

You must be racist. The only reason you challenge his elibility is because he’s black. If he were a white Muslim, you’d have no problem with him becoming pope.


12 posted on 02/14/2013 3:29:04 PM PST by Houghton M.
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To: NYer

Sonja Henie’s out.


13 posted on 02/14/2013 3:30:32 PM PST by bramps (Sarah Palin got more votes in 2008 than Mitt Romney got in 2012)
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To: billorites

Now that’s an idea whose time has come. Forget all that MSM boomletting for the first black African pope (never mind that we’ve had three of them already, 1500 years ago) and never mind that the guy they’re booming (Turkson) will never be elected because he’s openly campaigning.

Elect Biden and we’ll have the first idiot pope ever. Idiots deserve a chance too.


14 posted on 02/14/2013 3:31:05 PM PST by Houghton M.
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To: ArrogantBustard

Married men were bishops, as Peters points out, in the early centuries, but had to abstain from marital relations. Perhaps that would rule you out.

The discipline today is mandatory unmarriedness (celibacy) but continence within marriage is the older discipline and it could be appealed to as precedent.

But it won’t. Would send the wrong signals to the “if only we had married priests” crowd.


15 posted on 02/14/2013 3:33:22 PM PST by Houghton M.
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To: NYer

“Answer, yes! Married men were ordained, even to the episcopate, in the ancient Church. Of course, they ceased living as married men upon reception of the diaconate (let alone priesthood and episcopate) but, cessation of conjugal living does not dissolve or annul one’s marriage, so, yes, a married man could be elected pope. That said, I think the odds are against that happening. :)”

OK, I’ll throw my at into the ring.

Full Disclosure: There will be more change. Holy water is out. It spreads germs and isn’t Biblical. Ditto, the costumes. I’m willing to wear a nice Italian suit - no tie. I won’t be living in Rome. Filthy city. Bad tax system in Italy too. Pope-mobile is out. I want something more rugged. Leading a church isn’t a reason to look goofy. God commands us to have sex within marriage. Expect me to fulfill that command. Regularly. Faithfully. With great joy. Easiest command to keep. This is just the beginning.


16 posted on 02/14/2013 3:35:10 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international, gone independent. Gone.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

No, you’ve got to look at the Latin text of canon law, that’s what really governs. It says, “compos mentis” or something like that.

Can anyone deny that Slow Joe’s mind is full of the richest sort of compost imaginable?


17 posted on 02/14/2013 3:35:10 PM PST by Houghton M.
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To: trisham

It’ll be Malcom Cardinal Ranjith of Sri Lanka. You saw it here first.

But I could live with Scola or Ouellet.


18 posted on 02/14/2013 3:36:04 PM PST by Houghton M.
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To: NYer

Canon 332 § 1 of the 1983 Code doesn’t seem to require that one be Catholic


19 posted on 02/14/2013 3:40:15 PM PST by kidd
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To: Houghton M.

I put Scola at the top of my list, but Ouellet would be acceptable as well. There’s another that I would accept, but I can’t recall his name, except that he’s Italian.


20 posted on 02/14/2013 4:12:07 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

Bertone or something like that??


21 posted on 02/14/2013 4:51:22 PM PST by Ann Archy (ABORTION........the HUMAN sacrifice to the god of CONVENIENCE.)
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To: Ann Archy

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.


22 posted on 02/14/2013 5:05:18 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer
Who can be elected pope?
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Historian Notes Precedents for Papal Resignation
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Cardinal Sodano to Pope Benedict: “We have heard you with a sense of loss and almost disbelief”
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Report: Brother Says Pope Was Considering Resignation for Months
Some Notes About the Upcoming Conclave
An Evangelical Looks at Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict’s Resignation in Historical Context
Virtually unprecedented: papal resignation throughout history
Pope Benedict XVI:a papal timeline
"I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome" [Full Text]
Pope Benedict's Address on Resignation of the See of Rome
POPE BENEDICT XVI WILL RESIGN AT THE END OF THIS MONTH, VATICAN PRESS OFFICE TELLS FOX NEWS

23 posted on 02/14/2013 7:46:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Leave your resume in the “in” box on the receptionist’s desk, please. No need to call; we’ll be in touch.


24 posted on 02/14/2013 8:57:25 PM PST by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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To: Campion

No. No more stinking resumes! They mean little. Did Adam have a resume? Nope. Eve? Nope. Noah? Ezekiel? Peter? Hey, I know how to fish.


25 posted on 02/14/2013 9:06:47 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international, gone independent. Gone.)
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To: billorites; ArrogantBustard
I know its all jokes, but quite frankly I'd be terrified to be elected Pope. To be bishop and know that the road to hell is lined with the heads of bishops is terrifying enough.

If you or I sin we bring sin on ourselves; a bishop brings more to sin and the punishment due is worse.

No thank you....

26 posted on 02/15/2013 12:12:03 AM PST by Cronos
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To: Cronos

Well, good ol’ Athensasius himself said that the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops. And the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts, St. John Chrysostom attributed. As did a few others.

However it goes, Luke 12:48 is very very clear. To whom much is given, much is required and those to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.


27 posted on 02/25/2013 6:55:15 PM PST by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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