The Pryor Times

Religion

March 13, 2013

What happens once a pope is elected?

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The election of a pope follows a series of choreographed rules and rituals that have been tweaked over the centuries ever since the term "conclave" or "with a key" was used in the 13th century to describe the process of locking up the cardinals until they have chosen a new pope.

Only cardinals under age 80 are eligible to vote; in this case 115 men fit the bill and will vote. Two cardinals who were eligible stayed home: The emeritus archbishop of Jakarta, Cardinal Julius Darmaatjadja, who is ill, and Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who recused himself after admitting to inappropriate sexual behavior.

Up to four rounds of voting are allowed each day after the first day, and a two-thirds majority — 77 votes — is needed.

Once a cardinal has been elected pope, the master of liturgical ceremonies enters the Sistine Chapel and the senior cardinal asks "Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?" Assuming the cardinal says "I accept," the senior cardinal then asks: "By what name do you wish to be called?" The master of liturgical ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, then enters the information on a formal document.

At this point, white smoke pours out of the Sistine Chapel chimney and bells of St. Peters toll.

The new pope then changes into his papal white cassock, and one-by-one the cardinals approach him to swear their obedience.

In a change for this conclave, the new pope will stop and pray in the Pauline Chapel for a few minutes before emerging on the loggia of the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square. Preceding him to the balcony is French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the protodeacon, who announces "Habemus Papam!" Latin for "We have a pope" and then introduces him to the world in Latin.

The new pope then emerges and delivers his first public words as pope.

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