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Reflections: Vatican View (Papal Elections)

Papal Tiara & Keys

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Reflections: 

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Election of a Pope

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Before Papal Election / While See is Vacant

Papal Election / Conclave

After a Papal Election

Misc.

 

Category
Quotation

Before Papal Election / While See is Vacant

Also See: Papal Conclave (Topic Page)

Note: Items herein are for reference purposes only. Note that items are not necessarily current and may be subject to change.

"Can. 359 When the Apostolic See is vacant, the college of cardinals possesses only that power in the Church which is attributed to it in special law." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 335 When the Roman See is vacant or entirely impeded, nothing is to be altered in the governance of the universal Church; the special laws issued for these circumstances, however, are to be observed." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 340 If the Apostolic See should become vacant during the celebration of the Council, it is by virtue of the law itself suspended until the new Supreme Pontiff either orders it to continue or dissolves it." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"If the office of Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church or that of Major Penitentiary should happen to be vacant when the pope dies or should fall vacant before his successor is elected, the Sacred College of Cardinals should, as soon as possible, elect a cardinal (or cardinals) to fill the office (offices) until the election of a new pontiff." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"We decree that in every city and in other places as well, at least in the more important ones, as soon as news of the pope's death arrives and again after his solemn funeral rites have been celebrated humble and persevering prayers should be offered to God that he would enlighten the minds of the electors and bring them into an agreement which will result in a quick, unanimous and fruitful election, such as the salvation of souls and the good of the whole Catholic world require." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, laws issued by the Roman Pontiffs can in no way be corrected or modified, nor can anything be added or subtracted, nor a dispensation be given even from a part of them, especially with regard to the procedures governing the election of the Supreme Pontiff. Indeed, should anything be done or even attempted against this prescription, by my supreme authority I declare it null and void." (Pope John Paul II)

"While the Apostolic See is vacant, the government of the Church is in the hands of the Sacred College of Cardinals but only for ordinary business and other matters that cannot be postponed and for the preparations required for the election of a new Pontiff. In making such preparations, the College is bound by the provisions of this constitution and by the limitations it imposes. During the period in question, therefore, the Sacred College has no authority or jurisdiction in questions that were reserved to the Supreme Pontiff while he was alive; decisions in all such matters must be left solely to the future Pontiff." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the College of Cardinals has no power or jurisdiction in matters which pertain to the Supreme Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office; such matters are to be reserved completely and exclusively to the future Pope... During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the government of the Church is entrusted to the College of Cardinals solely for the dispatch of ordinary business and of matters which cannot be postponed, and for the preparation of everything necessary for the election of the new Pope." (Pope John Paul II)

"If the Apostolic See should become vacant during the celebration of an Ecumenical Council or of a Synod of Bishops being held in Rome or in any other place in the world, the election of the new Pope is to be carried out solely and exclusively by the Cardinal electors indicated in No. 33, and not by the Council or the Synod of Bishops. For this reason I declare null and void acts which would in any way temerariously presume to modify the regulations concerning the election or the college of electors. Moreover, in confirmation of the provisions of Canons 340 and 347 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law and of Canon 53 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in this regard, a Council or Synod of Bishops, at whatever point they have reached, must be considered immediately suspended ipso iure, once notification is received of the vacancy of the Apostolic See. Therefore without any delay all meetings, congregations or sessions must be interrupted, and the preparation of any decrees or canons, together with the promulgation of those already confirmed, must be suspended, under pain of nullity of the same. Neither the Council nor the Synod can continue for any reason, even though it be most serious or worthy of special mention, until the new Pope, canonically elected, orders their resumption or continuation." (Pope John Paul II)

"All the officials and staff, clerical or lay, of the conclave, as well as all the conclavists, if there are any, are to take an oath, in Latin or some other language; it is to be administered by the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, once he has made sure that each of them clearly understands the importance of the oath and the meaning of the formula. One or two days before entering into the conclave, in the presence of the secretary of the conclave and the master of pontifical ceremonies, who have been delegated for the purpose by the Camerlengo (in whose presence they themselves had earlier taken the oath), the officials and others are to pronounce the following formula in the national language suitable for them: 'I, ..., promise and swear that I will preserve an inviolate secrecy concerning each and every action taken and decree passed in the meetings of the cardinals with regard to the election of the new pontiff, and concerning everything done in the conclave or place of election that directly or indirectly has to do with the balloting, and concerning everything that I shall in any way come to know. Neither directly nor indirectly, by gesture or word or writing or in any other way, shall I violate this secrecy. I also promise and swear that in the conclave I shall not use any kind of transmitter or receiver or any photographic equipment - this under pain of automatic excommunication reserved in a very special way to the Apostolic See, if I violate this precept. I shall preserve this secrecy with scrupulous care even after the election of the new pontiff, unless he grants me special permission and explicit authorization. I likewise promise and swear that I shall in no way aid in or favor any interference, protest or other action by which civil authorities of any order or rank or any groups of persons or any individuals try to take a hand in the election of the pontiff. So help me God and these holy Gospels of God which I touch with my hand.'" (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"In conformity with the provisions of No. 52, the Cardinal Dean or the Cardinal who has precedence by order and seniority, will read aloud the following formula of the oath: We, the Cardinal electors present in this election of the Supreme Pontiff promise, pledge and swear, as individuals and as a group, to observe faithfully and scrupulously the prescriptions contained in the Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Universi Dominici Gregis, published on 22 February 1996. We likewise promise, pledge and swear that whichever of us by divine disposition is elected Roman Pontiff will commit himself faithfully to carrying out the munus Petrinum of Pastor of the Universal Church and will not fail to affirm and defend strenuously the spiritual and temporal rights and the liberty of the Holy See. In a particular way, we promise and swear to observe with the greatest fidelity and with all persons, clerical or lay, secrecy regarding everything that in any way relates to the election of the Roman Pontiff and regarding what occurs in the place of the election, directly or indirectly related to the results of the voting; we promise and swear not to break this secret in any way, either during or after the election of the new Pontiff, unless explicit authorization is granted by the same Pontiff; and never to lend support or favour to any interference, opposition or any other form of intervention, whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree or any group of people or individuals might wish to intervene in the election of the Roman Pontiff. Each of the Cardinal electors, according to the order of precedence, will then take the oath according to the following formula: And I, N. Cardinal N., do so promise, pledge and swear. Placing his hand on the Gospels, he will add: So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my hand." (Pope John Paul II)

Also See: The Papacy is Indestructible / Perpetual | Cardinals / Papal Legates | The Visible Church | Rome / Italy / The Vatican | Vatican Facts

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Papal Election / Conclave

Also See: Papal Conclave (Topic Page)

Note: Items herein are for reference purposes only. Note that items are not necessarily current and may be subject to change.

"The ballot should be rectangular in shape, longer than it is wide; at the upper center should appear the words (printed, if possible): Eligo in Summum Pontificem (I choose as Supreme Pontiff), with room below for writing a name; thus, the ballot is so arranged that it can be folded in two" (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"I therefore decree that for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff two thirds of the votes are required, calculated on the basis of the total number of electors present. Should it be impossible to divide the number of Cardinals present into three equal parts, for the validity of the election of the Supreme Pontiff one additional vote is required." (Pope John Paul II)

"Conclave means the carefully determined place, a kind of sacred retreat, where, after asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten them, the cardinal electors choose the Supreme Pontiff, and where the cardinals and other officials and staff, together with the conclavists, if there be any, remain day and night until the election is complete, and do not communicate with persons and things outside, in accordance with the [applicable] modalities and norms." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"[I]n view of the sacredness of the act of election and thus the need for it to be carried out in an appropriate setting where, on the one hand, liturgical actions can be readily combined with juridical formalities, and where, on the other, the electors can more easily dispose themselves to accept the interior movements of the Holy Spirit, I decree that the election will continue to take place in the Sistine Chapel, where everything is conducive to an awareness of the presence of God, in whose sight each person will one day be judged." (Pope John Paul II)

"The Conclave for the election of the Supreme Pontiff shall take place within the territory of Vatican City, in determined areas and buildings, closed to unauthorized persons in such a way as to ensure suitable accommodation for the Cardinal electors and all those legitimately called to cooperate in the orderly functioning of the election. By the time fixed for the beginning of the election of the Supreme Pontiff, all the Cardinal electors must have been assigned and must have taken up suitable lodging in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, recently built in Vatican City." (Pope John Paul II)

"While it is indeed a doctrine of faith that the power of the Supreme Pontiff derives directly from Christ, whose earthly Vicar he is, it is also certain that this supreme power in the Church is granted to him 'by means of lawful election accepted by him, together with episcopal consecration'. A most serious duty is thus incumbent upon the body responsible for this election. Consequently the norms which regulate its activity need to be very precise and clear, so that the election itself will take place in a most worthy manner, as befits the office of utmost responsibility which the person elected will have to assume, by divine mandate, at the moment of his assent." (Pope John Paul II)

"For the whole duration of the election, the Cardinal electors are required to refrain from written correspondence and from all conversations, including those by telephone or radio, with persons who have not been duly admitted to the buildings set aside for their use...The Cardinal electors are likewise to refrain from receiving or sending messages of any kind outside Vatican City; naturally it is prohibited for any person legitimately present in Vatican City to deliver such messages. It is specifically prohibited to the Cardinal electors, for the entire duration of the election, to receive newspapers or periodicals of any sort, to listen to the radio or to watch television." (Pope John Paul II)

"We also decree that no letters or writings of any kind, even printed, are to be sent either to those in the conclave, including the cardinal electors, or especially from the conclave to persons outside, unless they have in each and every case been carefully examined by the secretary of the conclave and the prelate assigned to guard the conclave. The only exception to this rule is the correspondence between the Tribunal of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary and the Cardinal Major Penitentiary who is in the conclave; such correspondence is to be free and unhindered, and the letters, bearing the seal of office, are not subject to examination and inspection. We also explicitly forbid the sending of newspapers and periodicals into or out of the conclave." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"The Scrutineers add up all the votes that each individual has received, and if no one has obtained two thirds of the votes on that ballot, the Pope has not been elected; if however it turns out that someone has obtained two thirds of the votes, the canonically valid election of the Roman Pontiff has taken place. In either case, that is, whether the election has occurred or not, the Revisers must proceed to check both the ballots and the notes made by the Scrutineers, in order to make sure that these latter have performed their task exactly and faithfully. Immediately after the checking has taken place, and before the Cardinal electors leave the Sistine Chapel, all the ballots are to be burnt by the Scrutineers, with the assistance of the Secretary of the Conclave and the Masters of Ceremonies who in the meantime have been summoned by the junior Cardinal Deacon. If however a second vote is to take place immediately, the ballots from the first vote will be burned only at the end, together with those from the second vote." (Pope John Paul II)

"The third and last stage is the postscrutinial stage. It includes (1) the counting of the total votes for each candidate, (2) the verification of the votes, (3) the burning of the ballots. The examiners count up the votes each candidate has received. If no one receives two thirds of the votes plus one, no Pope is elected on that ballot. If someone does receive two thirds plus one, there has been a canonically valid election of a Roman Pontiff. Whether or not there has been an election, the controllers must inspect both the ballots and the listing of the votes by the examiners, so as to determine whether the latter have faithfully and accurately carried out their duties. Immediately after this verification and before the cardinal electors leave the room, all the ballots are to be burned by the examiners with the help of the secretary of the conclave and the masters of ceremonies, whom the junior cardinal deacon has meanwhile summoned for the purpose. If however, a second balloting is to take place immediately, the first set of the ballots is to be burned at the end, that is, along with the second set of ballots." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"After a careful examination, the conclave is locked from the outside and the inside by the prefect of the pontifical household, the special delegate of the pontifical commission for Vatican City, and the prefect of the Papal Swiss Guards, in the presence of the dean of the clerical prelates of the Reverend Apostolic Chamber, as well as of the secretary-chancellor of the latter (who is deputed for the purpose by Cardinal Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church) and the masters of ceremonies and the architects. The keys are entrusted to the special delegate of the pontifical commission for Vatican City...Separate records are made of the exterior and interior lockings. One is drawn up by the master of pontifical ceremonies and signed by the secretary of the conclave and the master of pontifical ceremonies himself (acting as notary), with two masters of ceremonies as witnesses. The other record is drawn up by one of the clerical prelates of the Reverend Apostolic Chamber, who is deputed for this by the Cardinal Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church; this is done in the office of the special delegate of the pontifical commission for Vatican City, and signed by the prefect of the pontifical household, the special delegate himself, and the prefect of the Papal Swiss Guards." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"The Shepherd of the Lord's whole flock is the Bishop of the Church of Rome, where the Blessed Apostle Peter, by sovereign disposition of divine Providence, offered to Christ the supreme witness of martyrdom by the shedding of his blood. It is therefore understandable that the lawful apostolic succession in this See, with which 'because of its great pre-eminence every Church must agree', has always been the object of particular attention. Precisely for this reason, down the centuries the Supreme Pontiffs have deemed it their special duty, as well as their specific right, to establish fitting norms to regulate the orderly election of their Successor. Thus, also in more recent times, my Predecessors Saint Pius X Pius XI Pius XII John XXIII and lastly Paul VI each with the intention of responding to the needs of the particular historical moment, issued wise and appropriate regulations in order to ensure the suitable preparation and orderly gathering of the electors charged, at the vacancy of the Apostolic See, with the important and weighty duty of electing the Roman Pontiff. If I too now turn to this matter, it is certainly not because of any lack of esteem for those norms, for which I have great respect and which I intend for the most part to confirm, at least with regard to their substance and the basic principles which inspired them." (Pope John Paul II)

"The third and ordinary method or form for electing a Roman Pontiff is by casting ballots. Here We fully confirm the rule determined long ago and subsequently observed with scrupulous care, that a two-thirds majority is required for the valid election of a Roman Pontiff. We also wish to keep in force the norm established by Our predecessor Pius XII, that the majority must always be two-thirds plus one.. Balloting involves three stages. The first, or prescrutinial, stage includes: (1) the preparation and distribution of ballots; this is done by the masters of ceremonies who are to give at least two or three ballots to each cardinal elector; (2) the choice by lot (with all the cardinal electors participating) of three examiners (scrutatores), three deputies to take care of the votes cast by the sick (infirmarii), and three controllers (recognitores); the lots are to be drawn by the lowest-ranking cardinal deacon who shall pull in order the names of the nine who are to be assigned these various duties; (3) the writing of the ballots, which is to be done secretly by each cardinal elector; he shall write down the name of his choice, making his handwriting unrecognizable as far as possible; he must not write more than one name on a ballot or his vote is nullified; (4) the folding of the ballot in half, so that it is reduced in width to about an inch." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"Finally, I have deemed it necessary to revise the form of the election itself in the light of the present-day needs of the Church and the usages of modern society. I have thus considered it fitting not to retain election by acclamation quasi ex inspiratione, judging that it is no longer an apt means of interpreting the thought of an electoral college so great in number and so diverse in origin. It also appeared necessary to eliminate election per compromissum, not only because of the difficulty of the procedure, evident from the unwieldy accumulation of rules issued in the past, but also because by its very nature it tends to lessen the responsibility of the individual electors who, in this case, would not be required to express their choice personally. After careful reflection I have therefore decided that the only form by which the electors can manifest their vote in the election of the Roman Pontiff is by secret ballot, in accordance with the rules set forth... This form offers the greatest guarantee of clarity, straightforwardness, simplicity, openness and, above all, an effective and fruitful participation on the part of the Cardinals who, individually and as a group, are called to make up the assembly which elects the Successor of Peter. With these intentions, I promulgate the present Apostolic Constitution containing the norms which, when the Roman See becomes vacant, are to be strictly followed by the Cardinals whose right and duty it is to elect the Successor of Peter, the visible Head of the whole Church and the Servant of the servants of God." (Pope John Paul II)

"If the cardinal electors cannot agree on the person to be elected, then, after they have cast their votes in vain for three days according to the prescribed manner..., one day is to be allowed to pass without voting. The purpose is that the electors may pray to God and converse freely among themselves and that the senior cardinal deacon may deliver a short spiritual exhortation. The balloting is then begun anew, following the same method. If no election occurs, seven ballotings are to be conducted. Then there is to be another interruption for prayer, discussion and an exhortation by the senior cardinal priest. Seven more ballotings, according to the prescribed manner, are then to be conducted if seven are needed. If these fail to produce an election, prayers are once more offered to God, the electors are to discuss the matter and the senior cardinal bishop is to deliver an exhortation to the electors. At this point, the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church is to consult with the electors on procedure. The usual plan requiring two thirds of the votes plus one for a successful balloting is not to be abandoned unless the cardinal electors unanimously, without any dissenting voice, agree to another plan. This other plan may be the method of compromise (cf. no. 64) which requires only an absolute majority plus one or else a vote in which there are only two candidates, namely, the two who received the most votes in the immediately preceding balloting." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"After all the ballots of the Cardinal electors have been placed in the receptacle, the first Scrutineer shakes it several times in order to mix them, and immediately afterwards the last Scrutineer proceeds to count them, picking them out of the urn in full view and placing them in another empty receptacle previously prepared for this purpose. If the number of ballots does not correspond to the number of electors, the ballots must all be burned and a second vote taken at once; if however their number does correspond to the number of electors, the opening of the ballots then takes place in the following manner. The Scrutineers sit at a table placed in front of the altar. The first of them takes a ballot, unfolds it, notes the name of the person chosen and passes the ballot to the second Scrutineer, who in his turn notes the name of the person chosen and passes the ballot to the third, who reads it out in a loud and clear voice, so that all the electors present can record the vote on a sheet of paper prepared for that purpose. He himself writes down the name read from the ballot. If during the opening of the ballots the Scrutineers should discover two ballots folded in such a way that they appear to have been completed by one elector, if these ballots bear the same name they are counted as one vote; if however they bear two different names, neither vote will be valid; however, in neither of the two cases is the voting session annulled. When all the ballots have been opened, the Scrutineers add up the sum of the votes obtained by the different names and write them down on a separate sheet of paper. The last Scrutineer, as he reads out the individual ballots, pierces each one with a needle through the word Eligo and places it on a thread, so that the ballots can be more securely preserved. After the names have been read out, the ends of the thread are tied in a knot, and the ballots thus joined together are placed in a receptacle or on one side of the table. There then follows the third and last phase, also known as the post-scrutiny, which comprises: 1) the counting of the votes; 2) the checking of the same; 3) the burning of the ballots." (Pope John Paul II)

"In the event that the Cardinal electors find it difficult to agree on the person to be elected, after balloting has been carried out for three days in the form described...without result, voting is to be suspended for a maximum of one day in order to allow a pause for prayer, informal discussion among the voters, and a brief spiritual exhortation given by the senior Cardinal in the Order of Deacons. Voting is then resumed in the usual manner, and after seven ballots, if the election has not taken place, there is another pause for prayer, discussion and an exhortation given by the senior Cardinal in the Order of Priests. Another series of seven ballots is then held and, if there has still been no election, this is followed by a further pause for prayer, discussion and an exhortation given by the senior Cardinal in the Order of Bishops. Voting is then resumed in the usual manner and, unless the election occurs, it is to continue for seven ballots. If the balloting [still] does not result in an election..., the Cardinal electors shall be invited by the Camerlengo to express an opinion about the manner of proceeding. The election will then proceed in accordance with what the absolute majority of the electors decides. Nevertheless, there can be no waiving of the requirement that a valid election takes place only by an absolute majority of the votes or else by voting only on the two names which in the ballot immediately preceding have received the greatest number of votes; also in this second case only an absolute majority is required. Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected." (Pope John Paul II)

"Should the election begin on the afternoon of the first day, only one ballot is to be held; then, on the following days, if no one was elected on the first ballot, two ballots shall be held in the morning and two in the afternoon... The voting process is carried out in three phases. The first phase, which can be called the pre-scrutiny, comprises: 1) the preparation and distribution of the ballot papers by the Masters of Ceremonies, who give at least two or three to each Cardinal elector; 2) the drawing by lot, from among all the Cardinal electors, of three Scrutineers, of three persons charged with collecting the votes of the sick, called for the sake of brevity Infirmarii, and of three Revisers; this drawing is carried out in public by the junior Cardinal Deacon, who draws out nine names, one after another, of those who shall carry out these tasks; 3) if, in the drawing of lots for the Scrutineers, Infirmarii and Revisers, there should come out the names of Cardinal electors who because of infirmity or other reasons are unable to carry out these tasks, the names of others who are not impeded are to be drawn in their place. The first three drawn will act as Scrutineers, the second three as Infirmarii and the last three as Revisers. For this phase of the voting process the following norms must be observed: 1) the ballot paper must be rectangular in shape and must bear in the upper half, in print if possible, the words Eligo in Summum Pontificem; on the lower half there must be a space left for writing the name of the person chosen; thus the ballot is made in such a way that it can be folded in two; 2) the completion of the ballot must be done in secret by each Cardinal elector, who will write down legibly, as far as possible in handwriting that cannot be identified as his, the name of the person he chooses, taking care not to write other names as well, since this would make the ballot null; he will then fold the ballot twice; 3) during the voting, the Cardinal electors are to remain alone in the Sistine Chapel; therefore, immediately after the distribution of the ballots and before the electors begin to write, the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations and the Masters of Ceremonies must leave the Chapel. After they have left, the junior Cardinal Deacon shall close the door, opening and closing it again each time this is necessary, as for example when the Infirmarii go to collect the votes of the sick and when they return to the Chapel. The second phase, the scrutiny proper, comprises: 1) the placing of the ballots in the appropriate receptacle; 2) the mixing and counting of the ballots; 3) the opening of the votes. Each Cardinal elector, in order of precedence, having completed and folded his ballot, holds it up so that it can be seen and carries it to the altar, at which the Scrutineers stand and upon which there is placed a receptacle, covered by a plate, for receiving the ballots. Having reached the altar, the Cardinal elector says aloud the words of the following oath: I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected. He then places the ballot on the plate, with which he drops it into the receptacle. Having done this, he bows to the altar and returns to his place. If any of the Cardinal electors present in the Chapel is unable to go to the altar because of infirmity, the last of the Scrutineers goes to him. The infirm elector, having pronounced the above oath, hands the folded ballot to the Scrutineer, who carries it in full view to the altar and omitting the oath, places it on the plate, with which he drops it into the receptacle." (Pope John Paul II)

"Therefore [the holy general synod of Basel] renews the constitutions about the election of Roman pontiffs which sacred councils and supreme pontiffs have issued and it adds to them some further salutary norms. It decrees that whenever the apostolic see falls vacant, all the cardinals of the holy Roman church who are present in the place where the election of the supreme pontiff is to be held, shall meet together on the tenth day after the see becomes vacant in some chapel or place near the conclave. From there they shall process behind a cross, two by two, devoutly singing the Veni Creator Spiritus, and enter the place of the conclave, each taking with him not more than two necessary attendants. In view of the ceremonies, two clerics may also be admitted, at least one of whom shall be a notary. The chamberlain together with the deputies for the custody of the conclave shall ensure that nobody, apart from the aforesaid persons, enters the conclave. After the cardinals have entered and the doors have been closed, the chamberlain shall enter with the deputies and carefully examine the cells of all the cardinals. He shall remove any food and edibles found there, except medicines of the sick and infirm. He shall ensure a careful guard whenever he leaves and closes the door, and each day he shall closely inspect the food being brought in for the cardinals and allow only what seems necessary for moderate refreshment, without prejudice to the decrees passed in the fourth and seventh sessions of this sacred council. On the next day all the cardinals, in the presence of all those in the conclave, shall hear a mass of the Holy Spirit and receive the Eucharist. Before the voting begins, they shall swear before the holy gospels in these words: I, N., cardinal of..., swear and promise to almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, that I shall elect as pontiff the person who I think will be beneficial to the universal church in both spiritual and temporal matters and suitable for so great a dignity; I shall not give my vote to anyone who I have reason to think is directly or indirectly aiming at getting himself elected, by his promising or giving some temporal thing or by asking in person or through another or in any other way whatsoever; and I shall not make obeisance to anyone elected as pontiff before he takes the oath prescribed by this council of Basel; so help me God, to whom on the day of tremendous judgment I shall have to give an account of this oath and all my deeds After this each cardinal shall submit a ballot-card, on which he shall nominate a maximum of three persons. If he nominates more than one person, the second and third persons shall be from outside the college of cardinals. There shall not be more than one ballot on any day and it shall be held immediately after the mass. When the ballot-cards have been read, they shall be burnt straightaway unless two-thirds of the votes are for the same person. No approach shall be made to anyone until six ballots have been completed. During this time let the cardinals reflect and seriously ponder how much merit or loss to themselves, how much fruit or damage to the Christian people, how much good or evil, they will be causing by their choice of a pontiff. There is nothing, indeed, by which they can more merit the grace or the wrath of our Lord Jesus Christ than when they are setting his vicar over his sheep, which he loved so much as to suffer the torments of the cross and to die for them." (Council of Basel)

"The second stage is that of the balloting proper. It comprises (1) the placing of the ballots in an urn, (2) the mixing and counting of the ballots and (3) the announcement of the vote. After writing and folding his ballot, each Cardinal elector, in order of precedence, shall raise his hand so that he may be seen and take his ballot to the altar where the examiners are stationed and on which stands an urn, covered with a dish, ready to receive the ballots. At the altar the cardinal elector is to kneel, pray for a moment, rise and in a loud voice swear: 'I call Christ the Lord, my judge, to witness that I am voting for the one whom, in the Lord, I think should be elected.' Then he puts the ballot on the plate and slides it into the urn; whereupon he bows to the altar and returns to his place. If a cardinal elector present in the chapel is hindered by weakness from going to the altar, the last-chosen examiner goes to him. The elector, having taken the oath, gives the folded ballot to the examiner who carries it so that all can see it, takes it to the altar and, without any prayer or oath, puts it on the dish and slides it into the urn... After all the cardinal electors have placed their ballots in the urn, the first examiner shakes it several times to mix up the ballots, then the third examiner immediately counts them, drawing them one by one from the urn and placing them in an empty receptacle set there for the purpose. If the number of ballots does not correspond to the number of electors, they are all to be burned and a second balloting is to be begun. If the number of ballots is correct, the results of the balloting are made known in the following manner. The examiners sit at a table in front of the altar. The first examiner takes a ballot, opens it and, having seen the name written on it, hands it to the second examiner, who in turn sees the name and hands the ballot to the third examiner. The latter reads the name aloud in a clear voice so that all the electors present can record the vote on a sheet of paper ready for the purpose. The third examiner also records the name he has read from the ballot. If, in making the results of the voting known, the examiners find two ballots so folded in together that they appear to have been put into the urn by the same person, the two votes are to be regarded as one if they are for the same person. Neither is valid if they are for different persons. In any case, the balloting as a whole is not invalidated. Once the ballots have been made public, the examiners total up the votes received by each candidate and record them on a separate page. The third examiner, as he reads each ballot, puts a threaded needle through it at the word eligo, as a way of carefully preserving each in turn. Once all the names have been read, the ends of the thread are knotted together and the ballots thus tied in a bunch are placed in an empty urn or at one side of the table." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

Also See: Cardinals / Papal Legates | Rome / Italy / The Vatican | Papal Duties / Concerns | Vatican Facts

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After a Papal Election

Also See: The Pope (Topic Page)

Note: Items herein are for reference purposes only. Note that items are not necessarily current and may be subject to change.

"Finally, the new pontiff is to be crowned by the senior cardinal deacon. Within a suitable period, he is also to take possession, in the prescribed manner, of the Patriarchal Archbasilica of the Lateran." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"After the solemn ceremony of the inauguration of the Pontificate and within an appropriate time, the Pope will take possession of the Patriarchal Archbasilica of the Lateran, according to the prescribed ritual." (Pope John Paul II)

"We decree that immediately after the new Supreme Pontiff has been elected and has given his assent, and after he has been ordained a bishop if need be the conclave is ended as far as its canonical effects are concerned. Therefore We decree that the newly elected Supreme Pontiff may now be approached by the substitute secretary of state (papal secretary), the secretary of the council for the public affairs of the Church, the prefect of the pontifical household, and others who must consult with the new pope on immediately pressing matters." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"Once the formalities have been observed in accordance with the Order of Sacred Rites for a Conclave, the cardinal electors come forward in their proper order to offer homage and obedience to the newly elected Supreme Pontiff. When this has been done, thanks are given to God. The senior cardinal deacon tells the waiting people of the new pope, and the latter immediately gives the Apostolic Blessing Urbi et Orbi (to the City [of Rome] and the World). If the newly elected pope lacks the episcopal character, homage and obedience is offered to him, but the people are told of the election only after he has been ordained a bishop." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"Can. 332 §1 The Roman Pontiff acquires full and supreme power in the Church when, together with episcopal consecration, he has been lawfully elected and has accepted the election. Accordingly, if he already has the episcopal character, he receives this power from the moment he accepts election to the supreme pontificate. If he does not have the episcopal character, he is immediately to be ordained Bishop. §2 Should it happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validity that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested, but it is not necessary that it be accepted by anyone." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"After a canonically valid election, the junior cardinal deacon summons into the conclave assembly hall the secretary of the conclave, the master of pontifical ceremonies and the masters of ceremonies. The cardinal dean or the cardinal senior in order and age, acting in the name of the whole electoral college, asks the consent of the person elected, in these words: 'Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?' As soon as the person elected declares his consent, he is asked: 'What name do you wish to bear?' Then the master of pontifical ceremonies, acting as notary, with two masters of ceremonies as witnesses, makes a record of the new pope's acceptance and his choice of name. After his acceptance, the person elected, if he be a bishop, is straightway bishop of Rome, true pope, and head of the episcopal college. He possesses and can exercise full and supreme power over the universal Church. If, however, the elected person does not possess the episcopal character, he is to be immediately ordained a bishop." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"Since the Roman pontiff exercises such great power among mortals, it is right that he be bound all the more by the incontrovertible bonds of the faith and by the rites that are to be observed regarding the church's sacraments. We therefore decree and ordain, in order that the fullness of the faith may shine in a future Roman pontiff with singular splendour from the earliest moments of his becoming pope, that henceforth whoever is to be elected Roman pontiff shall make the following confession and profession in public, in front of his electors, before his election is published. In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. In the year of our Lord's nativity one thousand etc., I, N., elected pope, with both heart and mouth confess and profess to almighty God, whose church I undertake with his assistance to govern, and to blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, that as long as I am in this fragile life I will firmly believe and hold the Catholic faith, according to the traditions of the apostles, of the general councils and of other holy fathers, especially of the eight holy universal councils - namely the first at Nicaea, the second at Constantinople, the third at Ephesus, the fourth at Chalcedon, the fifth and sixth at Constantinople, the seventh at Nicaea and the eighth at Constantinople - as well as of the general councils at the Lateran, Lyons and Vienne, and I will preserve this faith unchanged to the last dot and will confirm, defend and preach it to the point of death and the shedding of my blood, and likewise I will follow and observe in every way the rite handed down of the ecclesiastical sacraments of the Catholic Church... This my profession and confession...I have signed below with my own hand. I sincerely offer it on this altar to you, almighty God..." (Council of Constance, Profession to be made by the Pope)

"When the election has canonically taken place, the junior Cardinal Deacon summons into the hall of election the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations. The Cardinal Dean, or the Cardinal who is first in order and seniority, in the name of the whole College of electors, then asks the consent of the one elected in the following words: Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff? And, as soon as he has received the consent, he asks him: By what name do you wish to be called? Then the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, acting as notary and having as witnesses two Masters of Ceremonies, who are to be summoned at that moment, draws up a document certifying acceptance by the new Pope and the name taken by him. After his acceptance, the person elected, if he has already received episcopal ordination, is immediately Bishop of the Church of Rome, true Pope and Head of the College of Bishops. He thus acquires and can exercise full and supreme power over the universal Church. If the person elected is not already a Bishop, he shall immediately be ordained Bishop. When the other formalities provided for in the Ordo Rituum Conclavis have been carried out, the Cardinal electors approach the newly-elected Pope in the prescribed manner, in order to make an act of homage and obedience. An act of thanksgiving to God is then made, after which the senior Cardinal Deacon announces to the waiting people that the election has taken place and proclaims the name of the new Pope, who immediately thereafter imparts the Apostolic Blessing Urbi et Orbi from the balcony of the Vatican Basilica." (Pope John Paul II)

"The holy synod decrees that the person elected as pope is obliged to express his consent to the election in the manner stated below. It is fitting that this consent should be made to the cardinals, if the person elected is present in the curia, or to one of the cardinals or someone mandated by them if he is not present there, in the presence of a notary and at least ten persons. After he has been informed of the election, he is bound to act within a day of the demand. If he does not do so, his election is annulled and the cardinals must proceed in the Lord's name to another election. But if he expresses his consent, as stated above, the cardinals shall straightaway make due obeisance to him as supreme pontiff. Once the obeisance has been made by the cardinals, nobody has any right to challenge his pontificate...[Form of consent:] 'In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I, N., elected pope, with both heart and mouth confess and profess to almighty God, whose church I undertake with his assistance to govern, and to blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, that as long as I am in this fragile life I will firmly believe and hold the catholic faith, according to the tradition of the apostles, of general councils and of other holy fathers, especially of the eight holy universal councils - namely the first at Nicaea, the second at Constantinople, the third which was the first at Ephesus, the fourth at Chalcedon, the fifth and sixth at Constantinople, the seventh at Nicaea and the eighth at Constantinople - as well as of the general councils at the Lateran, Lyons, Vienne, Constance and Basel, and to preserve intact this faith unchanged to the last dot, and to defend and preach it to the point of death and the shedding of my blood, and likewise to follow and observe in every way the rite handed down of the ecclesiastical sacraments of the church. I promise also to labor faithfully for the defense of the Catholic faith, the extirpation of heresies and errors, the reform of morals and the peace of the Christian people. I swear also to continue with the holding of general councils and the confirmation of elections in accordance with the decrees of the holy council of Basel. I have signed this profession with my own hand; I offer it on the altar with a sincere mind to you almighty God, to whom on the day of tremendous judgment I shall have to give an account of this and all my deeds; and I will repeat it at the first public consistory.' So that this salutary institution may not fade from the supreme pontiff's memory with the passage of time, every year on the anniversary of his election or of his coronation, the first cardinal present shall, during mass, publicly and in a loud voice address the supreme pontiff thus: Most holy father, may your holiness heed and carefully ponder the promise which you made to God on the day of your election. He shall then read out the promise and shall continue as follows: May your holiness, therefore, for the honor of God, for the salvation of your soul and for the good of the universal church, strive to observe to your utmost all these things in good faith and without guile or fraud. Recall whose place it is that you hold on earth, namely of him who laid down his life for his sheep, who thrice asked the blessed Peter if he loved him, before he entrusted his sheep to him, and who, as the just judge whom nothing secret escapes, will exact from you an account of everything to the very last farthing. Remember what blessed Peter and his successors as pontiffs did: they thought only of the honor of God, the spread of the faith, the public good of the church and the salvation and benefit of the faithful; finally, imitating their master and Lord they did not hesitate to lay down their lives for the sheep entrusted to them. Do not lay up for yourself or your kinsfolk treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves and robbers break in, but lay up for yourself treasure in heaven. Do not be an accepter of persons or of blood-ties or of homeland or of nation. All people are children of God and have been equally entrusted to your care and safe-keeping. Say after the example of Christ: Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother. In distributing dignities and benefices put before yourself neither the flesh nor gifts nor anything temporal at all, but solely God and the virtues and merits of people. Exercise ecclesiastical discipline in correcting faults, mindful of what grace Phinehas merited and what punishment Eli, the one for avenging injuries to God, the other for pretending not to know them. Defend, help and support the poor and needy. Show a fatherly charity to all. After the solemnities of his coronation, and each year after the anniversary of his election, the supreme pontiff shall carefully discuss with his brethren, for at least eight consecutive days, how he shall carry out his solemn promises to God. In the first place, therefore, he should examine where in the world the Christian religion is being persecuted by Turks, Saracens, Tartars and other infidels; where heresy or schism or any form of superstition flourishes, in which provinces there has been a decline in morals and observance of the divine precepts and in the right way of living, in both ecclesiastical and secular matters, where ecclesiastical liberty is infringed; among which kings, princes and peoples enmity, wars and fears of war are rife; and like a dutiful father he should strive with his brethren carefully to provide remedies." (Council of Basel)

Also See: The Church Rests on St. Peter | Infallibility | Laws of Previous Pontiffs Do Not Become Obsolete if Not Expressly Confirmed by Successors | No Authority Not Emanating From the Holy See / Christ | Obedience / Disobedience / Assent | The Papacy is Indestructible / Perpetual | Papal Duties / Concerns | Papal Primacy / Supremacy | Papal Solicitude | Popes as Preservers of Tradition / Against New Doctrines | Prayers For the Pope | Preservation of Truth / Unity | Rome / Italy / The Vatican | Those Who Wander From the Apostolic See Wander From the Church | The Visible Church | Vatican Facts

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Misc.

Also See: Papal Conclave (Topic Page)

Note: Items herein are for reference purposes only. Note that items are not necessarily current and may be subject to change.

"Confirming therefore the norm of the current Code of Canon Law (cf. Canon 349), which reflects the millennial practice of the Church, I once more affirm that the College of electors of the Supreme Pontiff is composed solely of the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church." (Pope John Paul II)

"We also confirm the prescriptions of Our predecessors which command that no one, even a cardinal, may, during the Roman Pontiff's lifetime and without having consulted him, enter into consultations about his successor or promise a vote or make decisions regarding it in secret meetings." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"Confirming the prescriptions of my Predecessors, I likewise forbid anyone, even if he is a Cardinal, during the Pope's lifetime and without having consulted him, to make plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings." (Pope John Paul II)

"We ask him who shall be elected not to be frightened by the seriousness of the office into refusing it when he is called to it but to bow humbly to the divine will and plan. For God who lays the burden on him also supports him so that he can carry the burden. He who is the source of the burden also helps a man to cope with it. He who bestows the dignity gives the weak man strength lest he falter before the magnitude of the task." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"When the funeral rites for the deceased Pope have been celebrated according to the prescribed ritual, and everything necessary for the regular functioning of the election has been prepared, on the appointed day - and thus on the fifteenth day after the death of the Pope or, in conformity with the provisions of No. 37 of the present Constitution, not later than the twentieth - the Cardinal electors shall meet in the Basilica of Saint Peter's in the Vatican, or elsewhere, should circumstances warrant it, in order to take part in a solemn Eucharistic celebration with the Votive Mass Pro Eligendo Papa. This celebration should preferably take place at a suitable hour in the morning, so that in the afternoon the prescriptions of the following...can be carried out. From the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where they will assemble at a suitable hour in the afternoon, the Cardinal electors, in choir dress, and invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit with the chant of the Veni Creator, will solemnly process to the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where the election will be held... The Sistine Chapel is therefore to remain an absolutely enclosed area until the conclusion of the election, so that total secrecy may be ensured with regard to everything said or done there in any way pertaining, directly or indirectly, to the election of the Supreme Pontiff." (Pope John Paul II)

"In the same way, I wish to confirm the provisions made by my Predecessors for the purpose of excluding any external interference in the election of the Supreme Pontiff. Therefore, in virtue of holy obedience and under pain of excommunication latae sententiae, I again forbid each and every Cardinal elector, present and future, as also the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and all other persons taking part in the preparation and carrying out of everything necessary for the election, to accept under any pretext whatsoever, from any civil authority whatsoever, the task of proposing the veto or the so-called exclusiva, even under the guise of a simple desire, or to reveal such either to the entire electoral body assembled together or to individual electors, in writing or by word of mouth, either directly and personally or indirectly and through others, both before the election begins and for its duration. I intend this prohibition to include all possible forms of interference, opposition and suggestion whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree, or any individual or group, might attempt to exercise influence on the election of the Pope. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void." (Pope John Paul II)

"We also confirm the decrees which Our predecessors issued with a view to excluding all external intervention in the election of the Supreme Pontiff. Therefore, again in virtue of holy obedience and under pain of automatic excommunication We forbid the cardinal electors, all and singly, present and future, as well as the secretary of the conclave and all other participants in the conclave to accept from any civil authority whosoever and under any pretext the commission to propose a veto or 'exclusion,' even in the form of a simple wish or to make such a veto known to the whole college assembled or to individual electors, either in writing or orally, either directly and in person or indirectly and through others, either before the conclave or during it. We intend this prohibition to extend to every form of interference, protest and wish by which secular authorities of any order or rank or any groups of persons or any individuals may try to take a hand in the election of a pontiff...The cardinal electors are also to avoid all pacts, agreements, promises or any other commitments by which they can be bound to vote or not vote for any individual or individuals. We decree that any such agreements, even if made under oath, are null and void and that no one is bound to honor them; and We now impose an automatic excommunication on those who act against this prohibition. We do not intend, however, to forbid the electors to communicate their views on the election to one another while the see is vacant. We also forbid the cardinals to make concessions before the election, that is, to enter upon agreements which each party binds himself to honor should he be elevated to the papacy. Again, We declare any such promises to be null and void, even if made under oath." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"If it happens - though may it not! - that a schism arises in the future in such a way that two or more persons claim to be supreme pontiffs, then the date of the council, if it is more than a year off, is to be brought forward to one year ahead; calculating this from the day on which two or more of them publicly assumed the insignia of their pontificates or on which they began to govern. All prelates and others who are bound to attend a council shall assemble at the council without the need for any summons, under pain of the law's sanctions and of other penalties which may be imposed by the council, and let the emperor and other kings and princes attend either in person or through official deputies, as if they had been besought, through the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to put out a common fire. Each of those claiming to be the Roman pontiff is bound to announce and proclaim the council as taking place at the end of the year, as mentioned, in the previously assigned place; he is bound to do this within a month after the day on which he came to know that one or more other persons had assumed the insignia of the papacy or was administering the papacy; and this is under pain of eternal damnation, of the automatic loss of any rights that he had acquired in the papacy, and of being disqualified both actively and passively from all dignities. He is also bound to make the council known by letter to his rival claimant or claimants, challenging him or them to a judicial process, as well as to all prelates and princes, insofar as this is possible. He shall go in person to the place of the council at the appointed time, under pain of the aforesaid penalties, and shall not depart until the question of the schism has been fully settled by the council. None of the contenders for the papacy, moreover shall preside as pope at the council. Indeed, in order that the church may rejoice more freely and quickly in one undisputed pastor, all the contenders for the papacy are suspended by law as soon as the council has begun, on the authority of this holy synod, from all administration; and let not obedience be given in any way by anyone to them, or to any one of them until the question has been settled by the council." (Council of Constance)

"In the first General Congregations provision is to be made for each Cardinal to have available a copy of this Constitution and at the same time to have an opportunity to raise questions about the meaning and the implementation of its norms. The part of the present Constitution regarding the vacancy of the Apostolic See should also be read aloud. At the same time the Cardinals present are to swear an oath to observe the prescriptions contained herein and to maintain secrecy. This oath, which shall also be taken by Cardinals who arrive late and subsequently take part in these Congregations, is to be read aloud by the Cardinal Dean or by whoever else presides over the College by virtue of No. 9 of this Constitution, in the presence of the other Cardinals and according to the following formula: We, the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church, of the Order of Bishops, of Priests and of Deacons, promise, pledge and swear, as a body and individually, to observe exactly and faithfully all the norms contained in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, and to maintain rigorous secrecy with regard to all matters in any way related to the election of the Roman Pontiff or those which, by their very nature, during the vacancy of the Apostolic See, call for the same secrecy. Next, each Cardinal shall add: And I, N. Cardinal N., so promise, pledge and swear. And, placing his hand on the Gospels, he will add: So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I now touch with my hand." (Pope John Paul II)

"Through this process of gradual change, the most important role in the election of the Pope has been assigned to the three major orders of the Roman clergy - bishops, priests and deacons - who are called the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Their primary role in the election of the Roman Pontiff was set forth in the well-known decree In nomine Domini which Nicholas II promulgated at the Roman synod of 1059.At the Third Lateran Council (1179) Alexander III published the Constitution Licet de evitanda which definitely established that the election is the prerogative solely of the College of Cardinals who represent the Roman Church and that all other participants are to be excluded. All later provisions have had as their sole purpose to assure the effectiveness of this original manner of electing the Roman Pontiff or to adapt it to new circumstances. The tradition of the Roman Church makes it likewise clear that the college to which is entrusted the duty of electing the Pontiff is permanent and so constituted that if the Apostolic See happens to be vacant, the college can continue to act. It cannot be denied that a previously established body of electors is still required and that this body should not have so many members that it cannot easily and quickly be assembled (as becomes necessary at times in periods of difficulty for the Church and the Supreme Pontificate). It is not permissible, therefore, that the electors of the pope should themselves be elected or deputed only when the Apostolic See has become vacant. Guided by these various considerations, Our recent predecessors have preserved this ancient manner of election in all its important fundamental aspects and have safeguarded its exercise. At the same time, however, they have striven to improve it by adapting it to new conditions. This is what Pius XII did, for example, when he added a number of Fathers to the College of Cardinals so that it might be more representative of the various nations and Churches of the Catholic world. John XXIII had the same end in view when he increased the number of members in the College and decreed that they should all receive the rank of bishop. We Ourselves have already acted in this area by publishing norms for the Sacred College of Cardinals... We now judge it necessary to revise some points relating to the election of a Pontiff, so that they may be appropriate in the present situation and truly contribute to the good of the Church. We also reassert, however, the principle that, in accordance with long-standing tradition, the election of the Roman Pontiff is the prerogative of the Church of Rome as represented by the Sacred College of Cardinals." (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

"For the praise, glory and honor of almighty God and for the peace and unity of the universal church and of the whole Christian people. The election of the future Roman and supreme pontiff is soon to be held. We wish that it may be confirmed with greater authority and by the assent of many persons and that, mindful as we are of the state of the church, no doubts or scruples may later remain in people's minds regarding the said election but rather that a secure, true full and perfect union of the faithful may result from it. Therefore this most holy general synod of Constance, mindful of the common good and with the special and express consent and the united wish of the cardinals of the holy Roman church present at the same synod, and of the college of cardinals and of all the nations at this present council, declares, ordains and decrees that, for this time only, at the election of the Roman and supreme pontiff, there shall be added to the cardinals six prelates or other honorable churchmen in holy orders, from each of the nations currently present and named at the same synod, who are to be chosen by each of the said nations within ten days. This same holy synod gives power to all these people, insofar as it is necessary, to elect the Roman pontiff according to the form here laid down. That is to say, the person is to be regarded as the Roman pontiff by the universal church without exception who is elected and admitted by two-thirds of the cardinals present at the conclave and by two-thirds of those from each nation who are to be and have been added to the cardinals. Moreover, the election is not valid nor is the person elected to be regarded as supreme pontiff unless two-thirds of the cardinals present at the conclave, and two-thirds of those from each nation who should be and have been added to the same cardinals, agree to elect him as Roman pontiff. The synod also declares, ordains and decrees that the votes of any persons cast at the election are null unless, as has been said, two-thirds of the cardinals, and two-thirds of those from each nation who should be and have been added to them, agree, directly or by way of addition, upon one person. This must be added, moreover, that the prelates and other persons who should be and have been added to the cardinals for the election, are bound to observe all and singular apostolic constitutions, even penal ones, which have been promulgated regarding the election of the Roman pontiff, just as the cardinals themselves are bound to observe them, and they are bound to their observance. The said electors, both cardinals and others, are also bound to swear, before they proceed to the election, that in attending to the business of the election, they will proceed with pure and sincere minds - since it is a question of [electing] the vicar of Jesus Christ, the successor of the blessed Peter, the governor of the universal church and the leader of the Lord's flock - and that they firmly believe it will benefit the public good of the universal church if they entirely prescind from all affection for persons of any particular nation, or other inordinate affections, as well as from hatred and graces or favors bestowed, in order that by their ministry a beneficial and suitable pastor may be provided for the universal church. This same holy synod, mindful of this notorious vacancy in the Roman church, fixes and assigns the next ten days for all and singular cardinals of the holy Roman church, whether present here or absent, and the other electors mentioned above, to enter into the conclave which is to be held in this city of Constance, in the commune's principal building which has already been allocated for this purpose. The synod ordains, declares and decrees that within these next ten days the aforesaid electors, both cardinals and others mentioned above, must enter into the conclave for the purpose of holding the election and of doing and carrying out all the other matters according as the laws ordain and decree in all things, besides those mentioned above regarding the cardinals and other electors, concerning the election of a Roman pontiff. The same holy synod wishes all these laws to remain in force after the above matters have been observed. For this time, however, it approves, ordains, establishes and decrees this particular form and manner of election. The same holy synod, in order to remove all scruples, makes and declares fit for actively and passively carrying out all legitimate acts at the same synod, insofar as this is necessary, all those who are present at the same synod as well as those who will come and adhere to it, always saving the other decrees of this same sacred council, and it will supply for any defects, if perchance any shall occur in the above, notwithstanding any apostolic constitutions, even those published in general councils, and other constitutions to the contrary." (Council of Constance)

"We learn from the past how heavy are the losses sustained by the Roman church in a long vacancy, how perilous it is; we see this all too clearly when we wisely consider the crises undergone. Reason therefore openly challenges us, while we devote ourselves skillfully to the reform of lesser evils, certainly not to leave without appropriate remedy those of greater danger. We judge therefore that everything wisely instituted by our predecessors and especially by Pope Alexander III of happy memory, for avoiding discord in the election of the Roman pontiff, should remain altogether intact. We intend in no way to detract from this legislation, but to supply by the present constitution what experience has shown to be missing. With the approval of the sacred council, we decree that if the pope dies in a city where he was residing with his curia, the cardinals present in that city are obliged to await the absent cardinals, but for ten days only. When these days have passed, whether those absent have arrived or not, all are to assemble in the palace where the pope lived. Each is to be content with one servant only, clerical or lay, at choice. We allow however those in evident need to have two, with the same choice. In this palace all are to live in common in one room, with no partition or curtain. Apart from free entry to a private room, the conclave is to be completely locked, so that no one can enter or leave. No one may have access to the cardinals or permission to talk secretly with them, nor are they themselves to admit anyone to their presence, except those who, by consent of all the cardinals present, might be summoned only for the business of the imminent election. It is not lawful for anyone to send a messenger or a written message to the cardinals or to any one of them. Whoever acts otherwise, sending a messenger or a written message, or speaking secretly to one of the cardinals, is to incur automatic excommunication. In the conclave some suitable window is to be left open through which the necessary food may be served conveniently to the cardinals, but no entry for anyone is to be possible through this way. If, which God forbid, within three days after the cardinals have entered the said conclave, the church has not been provided with a shepherd, they are to be content for the next five days, every day both at dinner and supper, with one dish only. If these days also pass without the election of a pope, henceforth only bread, wine and water are to be served to the cardinals until they do provide a pope. While the election is in process, the cardinals are to receive nothing from the papal treasury, nor any other revenue coming from whatever source to the church while the see is vacant. Everything during this period remains in the custody of him to whose faithfulness and care the treasury has been entrusted, to be kept by him for the disposal of the future pope. Those who have accepted something are obliged from then on to abstain from receiving any of the revenues due to them until they have made full restitution of what they have accepted in this way. The cardinals are to devote their time so carefully to hastening the election as to occupy themselves with no other business whatever unless perhaps there occurs such an urgent necessity as the defense of the states of the church or some part of them, or there be threat of such a great and evident danger that it seems to each and all the cardinals present, by general consent, that they should quickly counteract it... we implore the cardinals through the tender mercy of our God, and we call them to witness through the sprinkling of his precious blood, that they consider very carefully what they are about to do. They are electing the vicar of Jesus Christ, the successor of Peter, the ruler of the universal church, the guide of the Lord's flock. They are to lay aside all the disorder of private affection, to be free from any bargain, agreement or pledge; they are not to consider any promise or understanding, to have no regard for their mutual advantage or that of their friends. They are not to look after their own interests or their individual convenience. Without any constraint on their judgment other than God, they are to seek purely and freely the public good, with the election alone in mind. They are to use every endeavor and care that is possible. Their one aim is to provide, by their service and speedily, what is so useful and necessary for the whole world, a fitting spouse for the church. Those who act otherwise are subject to the divine retribution, their fault never to be pardoned except after severe penance." (Second Council of Lyons)

Also See: The Church Rests on St. Peter | Infallibility | Necessity of a Teaching Authority | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff | The Papacy is Indestructible / Perpetual | Papal Duties / Concerns | Papal Primacy / Supremacy | Popes as Preservers of Tradition / Against New Doctrines | Preservation of Truth / Unity | Rome / Italy / The Vatican | The Visible Church | Vatican Facts

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