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In , one group of cardinals selected two different popes. Upon his death two years later, angry crowds demanded an Italian successor rather than a French one who might head back to Avignon. But when the new pope proved overly confrontational, calling one cardinal a half-wit and coming to blows with another, the cardinals declared the election invalid.

They held a second conclave five months after the first one, deciding this time around on Clement VII. The two popes, one in Avignon and one in Rome, both claimed to be the true leader of the church, going so far as to excommunicate each other.

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A council held in Pisa in sought to bridge the divide, but it only succeeded in adding a third pope to the mix. Finally, at the Council of Constance in what is now Germany, all three popes either resigned or were deposed. The Western Schism, as this fiasco became known, ended with the election of Martin V in Since the end of the Western Schism, the conclave has taken place in Rome every time but once. The exception occurred in following the death of Pius VI, who had been taken prisoner during the French Revolution and exiled to France. Getting to the conclave used to be especially hard for American cardinals.

Later U. There are only two requirements for becoming pope: being male and being baptized into the Catholic Church. Only cardinals younger than 80 can vote. In , Paul VI limited voting at conclaves to those cardinals younger than 80, reportedly as a way of building in term limits and preventing the elderly from having to travel to Rome.

Inside the Conclave

Many in the over crowd still show up, however, and participate in pre-conclave meetings devoted to preparatory matters and discussions about the future of the church. The cardinals hold one vote on the first day of the conclave and fill out four ballots per day thereafter two in the morning and two in the afternoon. If a round of voting fails to generate the required two-thirds majority, black smoke pours out of the Sistine Chapel. At the same time, however, Ouellet had some highly influential supporters besides the Americans. Among them was Cardinal Joachim Meissner, the archbishop of Cologne, Germany, since and for nine years before that archbishop of Berlin.

He wanted to ensure that the next pope would faithfully follow the line and vision of his two predecessors. Bergoglio is too old! As for Bergoglio, the first vote revealed that he was indeed a strong candidate, stronger than many had realized. He was known to be a very holy man, a humble, intelligent, inspiring pastor, devoid of ambition, who avoided the limelight, lived a simple life and had a passionate love for the poor.

He had never lived or studied in Rome and did not have a Roman outlook. He had governed the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires for 15 years in a truly pastoral way, with decisiveness, prudence and creativity; he had a talent for government.

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Above all, he was a man of courage with a vision, a missionary vision, able to open new horizons for the church, a man committed to dialogue—with Jews, with Muslims, with other Christians and with those who professed no faith. He was above all a pastor. His brief intervention in the General Congregation as well as his interaction with many cardinals during these days had revealed this clearly. In addition, 68 electors who had participated in the conclave knew him as runner-up then, and several—like Maradiaga, Monswengo, Walter Kasper, Jean-Louis Tauran, Turkson, Gracias and others, too—did not disguise their active support for him.

The undecided had this night to make up their minds; tomorrow morning, they would have to cast their votes again Bergoglio's has become a truly inspirational papacy. Francis has endured attacks from the right and has come out the stronger. The Church will renew itself over time under his leadership.

I agree that Pope Francis has been an inspiring leader, though there is still much to do regarding the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. He should be lauded, however, for his humility and personal example. Rather than reside in the Papal apartments, he took up residence in the Santa Marta hostel. He has also been lauded for his role in the creation of, and support for, the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, which is intended to reaffirm and fully protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants regardless of status. Many UN delegates have praised Pope Francis for the use of his papal moral authority in the creation of principles for cooperation in the efforts to protect migrants and their families.

He has also been vocal about efforts to combat human trafficking and slavery, and he strongly supports interfaith dialogue. Much more needs to be done, however, regarding the sex abuse problem in the Church, and we can hope and pray that the Pope, who was known as an astute, humble, and hard-working leader of the Buenos Aires archdiocese, will find solutions to the evil of sexual abuse that has harmed many victims and the Church as a whole.

Take the sexual abuse crisis, for example. For some reason, Bergoglio seems to have an instinctual sympathy for clerics particularly South American clerics who have beyond any reasonable doubt been proven to have engaged in sexual misconduct. He has a much deserved reputation for petty and nasty vindictiveness one example of which was his knee-jerk and totally unjustified accusation later retracted that Chilean sexual abuse victims were guilty of slander.

He adopted a bizarre attitude of militant silence in the face of Abp. In all events, his de facto recognition of the Patriotic Association as the legitimate Church has betrayed the faithful who have risked their lives holding out loyally for the real Church, and has paved the way for the possible destruction of that Church in China.


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Jeffrey- I'm sorry you do not understand the Pope's message. Regarding the sexual abuse, to blame Pope Francis for all he has inherited is ridiculous. Regarding Abp Vigano, the Pope did NOT refer to him as Satan, it was interpreted that way by those on the 'seek and destroy' mission within the Church, which sadly you seem to be in support of, if your post is any indication. It is not petty, nasty or vindictive to call out those he thought were jumping to conclusions without fact in the Chilean scandal.

He was misled, and apologized for it. That showed honesty and humility. Cardinal Zen may disagree with Pope Francis, but other bishops in China agree with him. As you might have noticed in this article, Cardinal Burke did not receive one vote. That should provide some thought for you. Pope Francis' silence was an example for all of us, to think, research and analyze before we jump to conclusions.

That message was a gift and a message for all of us to become more humble and less judgmental. I'm sorry you prefer to see the glass half empty concerning our Pope. He indeed represents everything Christ has brought forth. No matter this? I further order the Cardinal electors, graviter onerata ipsorum conscientia, to maintain secrecy concerning these matters also after the election of the new Pope has taken place, and I remind them that it is not licit to break the secret in any way unless a special and explicit permission has been granted by the Pope himself.

Marisa- I was wondering about that because I thought that was the case. How and why has this been revealed, unless maybe the Pope did grant permission? I hope so, as otherwise it would be yet another example of dishonesty and lack of integrity. I'm going to believe he did unless I hear otherwise.

How is a Pope elected?

Lisa, if the Pope did grant permission, this should have been clarified by the author and I am very astonished that this problem has not been undelined by a Jesuit Review. Please do a search for Archbishop Timothy P. Read the positions in which he has served including currently for the past years as the Archbishop for the Military Services, which covers the globe. You will see how he very well might have received a vote in the last papal conclave.

One need not be a cardinal to be elected Pope Church History After being fortunate enough to hear him speak had me alert and on the edge of my seat, not wanting to miss a word and interact with people on a number of occasions, I could see him being nominated by those who know him - a very worthy and competent candidate.


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The success of this article is to confirm me in the resolution that I will not make any effort to read the book even if I find a copy for 50 cents in a reminder bin. If the people of God at large cannot choose the successor of Peter for their day, then at least the choosing group should be the bishops, all the bishops, alive at the time whatever their age. The technology is all widely available.

This article also appeared in print, under the headline "Inside the election of Pope Francis," in the April 1, issue. Your source for jobs, books, retreats, and much more. Exclusive: Inside the election of Pope Francis. Show Comments Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more. Bill C I agree that Pope Francis has been an inspiring leader, though there is still much to do regarding the sexual abuse crisis in the Church.

He is an absolute gift to the Catholic Church, and to the world. Lisa M.

Who Can Be Elected Pope?

Marisa Levi. Most popular.

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