Vatican City

Electing a new pope, the conclave

The process that produces the white smoke

Electing a new pope, the conclave

Vatican City, March 11 - The conclave is the group of cardinal electors who normally meet between 15 and 20 days after the pope's death to decide his successor. This time the conclave has been brought forward because Benedict XVI did not die but abdicated. The College of Cardinals fixes the starting date for the conclave, in this case March 12, which takes place inside the Sistine Chapel. The participating cardinals must be under 80 years old on the day before the pope's death. An official maximum of 120 cardinals can participate in the conclave. This time there are 115 cardinal-electors, making the required two-thirds majority 77. Members live in a 105-room Vatican residence during the conclave, during which period they have no contact with the outside world. They are allowed no mobile phones, newspapers, television, messages or letters, and are regular sweeps of all relevant areas for listening devices. Although officially restricted to the electing cardinals, a number of other individuals are permitted in the conclave. These include nurses for infirm cardinals, doctors, priests to hear confessions in different languages, individuals for preparing meals and housekeeping and several Vatican officials tasked with scrutinizing the vote. All are sworn to perpetual secrecy regarding anything they learn concerning the election of the pope. The conclave requires a two-thirds majority to elect a pope. After an afternoon vote held on the first day, four votes take place daily, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. After each vote, the ballot papers are burned. If no pope has been agreed chemicals are added to the fire to produce black smoke. White smoke indicates that a new pontiff has been appointed. Once elected, the new pope must officially accept the post and state the name by which he wishes to be known. He then goes to the Room of Tears, a small room next to the Sistine Chapel, where he finds the white papal robes in three different sizes. He dons the appropriate robes and returns to the conclave, where the "Camerlengo" or Chamberlain places the Fisherman's Ring on his finger and each cardinal pays homage. Next, the senior Cardinal Deacon appears at the main balcony of the basilica's facade to proclaim the new pope, who then gives his first apostolic blessing, Urbi et Orbi ("to the City [Rome] and to the World").

Lascia il tuo commento

Condividi le tue opinioni su Gazzetta del Sud online

Caratteri rimanenti: 400

Le altre notizie

i più letti di oggi