Skip to comments.Who can be elected pope?
Posted on 02/14/2013 2:28:15 PM PST by NYer
Its been more than 500 years since a non-cardinal was elected pope, but then, its 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 lélu 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, ones capacity and willingness to be ordained suffices for validity of election, but not ones 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, its going to be a cardinal, so the questions moot.
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 ones 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.
A married man ... hmmm ... any volunteers from among the catholic freepers?
too bad Obama’s not Catholic...
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!
Hey fellas, I'm a Catholic!
Damn good one too.
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.
That kinda excludes Slow Joe.
Nancy Pelosi is going to be consumed with Papal envy...
I’m leaning toward Cardinal Angelo Scola. I’m traditional.
I not married and a Catholic
I thereby nonimate myself for the office of Pope
Any freepers volunteer as my campaign manager.....?
Ineligibility never stopped him before, why should such a minor detail stop him now?
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.
Sonja Henie’s out.
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.
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.
“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 ones 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.
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?
It’ll be Malcom Cardinal Ranjith of Sri Lanka. You saw it here first.
But I could live with Scola or Ouellet.
Canon 332 § 1 of the 1983 Code doesn’t seem to require that one be Catholic
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.