Thursday, April 07, 2005

Summary of Universi Dominici Gregis

The following is part of a resource packet prepared by the Diocese of Lansing and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who have generously offered it for our use. See the full text of their Protocol, Procedures and Liturgical Preparation Resources for use upon the Death of a Pope and the Election of His Successor.

Summary adapted from information found in
the Apostolic Constitution
Universi Dominici Gregis (Of the Lord’s Whole Flock)
by Pope John Paul II
February 22, 1996, the feast of the Chair of St. Peter


Part I: The Death of the Pope
Part II: The Election of the Roman Pontiff
Part III: The New Pope

For Further Reading


St. Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, Blessed John XXIII, and Paul VI, each responding to a particular historical moment and fulfilling their right and duty as Supreme Pontiff, had issued norms to regulate the orderly election of their successor. Pope John Paul II, while respecting these previous documents and confirming most of their rules, issued his own apostolic constitution on the matter – Universi Dominici Gregis – in 1996.

Why did John Paul II write this document? He did so in response to the revision of the Code of Canon Law, his own reform of the Roman Curia in Pastor Bonus, an awareness of technological advances, and the mandate in Canon 335 to continually update specific laws regulating vacancies in the Holy See.

“While it is indeed a doctrine of the 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 precise and clear” (UDG, Intro).

What follows, then, is a summary of that apostolic constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis.

Rita A. Thiron, M.A.
Associate Director of the Office of Worship
Diocese of Lansing
September 2004

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What happens upon the death of the Pope?

The Cardinal Camerlengo must officially ascertain the pope’s death in the presence of the master of papal liturgical celebrations, of the cleric prelates of the Apostolic Camera. Also present will be the secretary and chancellor of the same; the latter will draw up the official death certificate.

The camerlengo then performs a series of duties:
  1. He will place seals on the pope’s study and bedroom. When the other personnel who reside in the papal apartment have vacated it, the entire apartment is sealed. Before or during the Conclave, no part of the private apartment of the Pope is to be lived in.
  2. He notifies the cardinal vicar for Rome of the pope’s death who in turn announces it to the people of Rome.
  3. He notifies the cardinal archpriest of the Vatican basilica.
  4. He takes possession, either in person or through a delegate, of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, as well as the palaces of the Lateran and Castel Gandolfo.
  5. After consulting the heads of the three orders of cardinals, he shall determine all matters related to the pope’s burial, unless the pope himself had left instructions.
  6. With the consent of the College of Cardinals, he shall serve as temporary administrator of the Apostolic See.

As soon as he hears of the death of the Pontiff, the Dean of the Sacred College shall inform all Cardinals. He will convoke them for the General Congregation and convoke all those who have a right to participate in the conclave. He also communicates the news of the death of the Pope to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See and to the heads of the respective nations.

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While the See is vacant, what is the role of the Sacred College of Cardinals?

During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the government of the church is entrusted to the Sacred College of Cardinals. They dispatch ordinary business matters which cannot be postponed and they prepare everything for the election of the new Pope. While the See is vacant, laws issued by the deceased pontiff cannot be corrected, modified, or dispensed. Such matters are to be reserved for the future pope.

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Preparations for the Election: The General Congregation and the Particular Congregation

While the See is vacant and until the entry into the conclave, there are two kinds of Congregations of the Cardinals – a General Congregation and a Particular Congregation.

The General Congregation must be attended by all cardinals who are not legitimately prevented from doing so as soon as they are informed of the vacancy of the Apostolic See. Cardinals who “have completed their eightieth year” may opt not to take part.

The Particular Congregation is made up of the cardinal camerlengo [currently Eduardo Cardinal Martinez Somalo, a native of Spain] and three cardinals, one from each order, chosen by lot from among those who have authority to elect the Pope. These “assistants” are changed every three days during the conclave, elected by lot. Ordinary items are dealt with by the Particular Congregation so that the General Congregation might concentrate on the election of the new Pope.

The General Congregations are held at the Apostolic Vatican palace (or if circumstances demand it, in another place. The Dean of the Sacred College presides or in his absence, the Subdean. If one or both of them is over eighty, the senior cardinal will preside.

These General Congregations are held daily, including those days on which the funeral rites of the deceased Pontiff are celebrated. Votes are never cast by word of mouth, but in a way that preserves privacy.

During the first General Congregation, all of the cardinals will be given a copy of Universi Dominici Gregis and parts will be read aloud. They may raise questions about the meaning and implementation of the norms. All the cardinals present will take an oath to observe the prescriptions therein and to preserve secrecy. Each cardinal will place his hand on the Book of Gospels and swear so, individually.

We, the cardinals of the 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 Diminici Gregis of the Supreme Pontiff of John Paul II, and to maintain rigorous secrecy with regard to all the 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.

[Then each cardinal adds:]

And I Cardinal N., so promise, pledge and swear. So help me God and the Holy Gospels which I now touch with my hand.

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The Immediate Duties of the General Congregation

Among the first order of business for the General Congregation is to:

  1. fix the day, hour, and manner in which the body of the deceased Pontiff shall be taken to the Vatican Basilica so that the faithful may pay their respects;
  2. make all necessary arrangements for the funeral rites of the deceased Pontiff; these shall be celebrated for nine consecutive days; burial should take place from four to six days after death;
  3. shall see to it that appropriate commissions prepare the rooms at Domus Sanctae Marthae and prepare the Sistine Chapel;
  4. entrust two ecclesiastics known for their sound doctrine, wisdom, and moral authority the task of presenting two well-prepared meditations on the problems facing the Church at the time and the need for careful discernment in electing the new Pontiff; they shall fix the day and time these meditations will be given;
  5. review and approve the expenses for the conclave;
  6. read the documents left by the deceased Pontiff for the College of Cardinals if any exist;
  7. arrange for the breaking of the fisherman’s ring and the lead seal with which apostolic letters are dispatched;
  8. assign, by lot, rooms for the electors;
  9. set the date and hour of the beginning of the voting process

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What curial offices continue to function during the vacancy of the Apostolic See?

All the cardinals in charge of the departments in the Vatican Curia, relinquish their office at the death of the Pontiff, even the Cardinal Secretary of State. The cardinal camerlengo and the cardinal vicar general of the Diocese of Rome continue to function, submitting to the College of Cardinals. Likewise, the cardinal archpriest of the Vatican Basilica and the vicar general for the Vatican City continue to serve. The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota deal with cases in accord with their proper laws continues to hear cases and rule on them. The Almoner of His Holiness continues to carry out works of charity.

During the period of the vacancy, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia have limited faculties.

If the office of camerlengo or of major penitentiary is vacant at the time of the pope’s death, the College of Cardinals will elect -- by secret ballot and with a simple majority -- someone to fill these offices.

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The Funeral Rites

The funeral rites will be celebrated for nine consecutive days according to the Ordo Exsequiarum Romani Pontificis.

If the pope dies outside of Rome, it is the task of the College of Cardinals to make all necessary arrangements for the dignified and reverent transfer of the body to St. Peter’s Basilica.

No one is permitted to take photographs of the Pontiff, in his sick bed or after his death, until he is attired in the pontifical vestments. They may do so then only with the permission of the cardinal camerlengo. Nor may anyone record the pope’s final words for subsequent reproduction.

An official document of burial is drawn up by the notary of the chapter of the basilica or by the canon archivist.

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Does the pope have a will?

If the deceased supreme pontiff has made a will concerning his belongings, bequeathing letters and private documents, and has named an executor thereof, it is the responsibility of the executor to carry out the deceased pope’s wishes. The executor will give an accounting only to the new pope.

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Who elects the pope?

The college of electors of the supreme pontiff is composed solely of the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. The universality of the Church is expressed in the very composition of the College of Cardinals, whose members come from every continent.

The maximum number of electors will be 120. Those cardinals who celebrate their 80th birthday before the day when the Apostolic See becomes vacant do not take part in the election, but they may participate in the preparatory meetings of the conclave, supporting the work of the electors with prayer.

If a pope dies when an ecumenical council or synod of bishops is taking place, those meetings must be suspended. The participants cannot prepare any decrees or canons, they may not elect a pope, nor may they attempt to modify any election regulations (34).

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When will the election take place?

“All the cardinal electors, convoked by the cardinal dean or by another cardinal in his name, are required in virtue of holy obedience to obey the announcement of the convocation and to proceed to the place designated …unless they are prohibited by sickness or other grave impediment which must be recognized by the College of Cardinals” (38).

After the death of the Pontiff, the cardinal electors must wait fifteen days for those who are absent. But once twenty days has elapsed, they should proceed with the conclave (39).

If a cardinal arrives while the conclave is in progress, they shall be allowed to take part in the election “at the stage which it has reached” (UDG 40). If a cardinal must leave and return while the conclave is in progress, for some grave reason, he may do so.

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Where will the election take place?

Everything will take place within the Vatican City State. The living quarters of the cardinal electors will be a newly-constructed guesthouse, Domus Sanctae Marthae

“In view of the sacredness of the act of election and thus the need for it to be carried out in an appropriate setting where... liturgical actions can be combined with juridical formalities and where... 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 the presence of God, in whose sight each person will one day be judged” (UDG, Intro).

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Who is allowed in the buildings where the electors will function?

Some personnel are required to assist with the election and with liturgical celebrations. Some cardinals may require a nurse or other medical personnel and living arrangements will be made for them.

The following individuals may be properly lodged in suitable areas within Vatican City and must receive prior approval from the cardinal camerlengo and his three cardinal assistants:

  • The secretary of the College of Cardinals who acts as secretary of the electoral assembly
  • The master of papal liturgical celebrations with two masters of ceremony and two religious attached to the papal sacristy
  • An ecclesiastic chosen by the cardinal dean in order to assist him in his duties
  • A number of priests from the regular clergy to hear confessions in various languages
  • A suitable number of people for preparing and serving meals and for housekeeping

These people, too shall take an oath of secrecy:

I promise and swear that unless I should receive a special faculty given expressly by the newly elected pontiff or by his successors, I will observe absolute and perpetual secrecy with all who are not a part of the college of cardinal electors concerning all matters directly or indirectly related to the ballots cast and their scrutiny for the election of the supreme pontiff.

I likewise promise and swear to refrain from using any audio or video equipment capable of recording anything which takes place during the period of the election within Vatican City, and in particular anything which in any way, directly or indirectly, is related to the process of the election itself. I declare that I take this oath fully aware that an infraction thereof will make me subject to spiritual and canonical penalties… so help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my hand (48).

Other than those rare exceptions, the buildings are closed to unauthorized persons.

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How will secrecy be maintained?

“During this period, the entire territory of Vatican City and the ordinary activity of the offices located therein shall be regulated in a way which permits the election of the supreme pontiff to be carried out with due privacy and freedom. In particular, provision shall be made to ensure that no one approaches the cardinal electors while they are being transported from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican” (43).

Indeed, cardinals are forbidden to communicate (by telephone, writing, or other means of communication) with persons outside the area where the election is taking place, except in cases of urgent necessity. The Particular Congregation will determine the urgency of any communication.

Anyone not mentioned above who should happen to meet one of the cardinal electors is forbidden to engage in conversation with them.

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Did Pope John Paul II create any major change to the election process?

Yes. In the past, there were actually three ways to elect the pope. First, the electors would pray to the Holy Spirit, a name would be announced, and all would support that name by acclamation (quasi ex inspiratione). Second, the cardinals would elect a small committee of cardinals to vote on their behalf (per comprimissum). Or, third, the electors could cast individual votes, repeating as necessary until one person was elected.

“In light of the present-day needs of the Church and the usages of modern society,” John Paul II revised the voting process. He eliminated election by acclamation, “judging that it was no longer an apt means of interpreting the thought of an electoral college so great in number and so diverse in origin” (ibid). He also eliminated the second type of election, “not only because of the difficulty of the procedure...but also because of its very nature it tends to lessen the responsibility of the individual electors” (ibid). Therefore, the only form of election will be individual ballots, a form described in detail in UDG. “This form offers the greatest degree of clarity, straightforwardness, simplicity, openness and, above all, an effective and fruitful participation on the part of the cardinals who ... are called to make up the assembly which elects the successor of Peter” (ibid).

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What is a conclave?

The very name “conclave” refers to a clearly defined place, having the character of a sacred retreat where, after the invocation of the Holy Spirit, the cardinal electors remain night and day.

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Entry into the Conclave

When the funeral rites for the deceased pontiff have concluded, and no sooner than fifteen to twenty days after the pope’s death, the electors assemble in the morning at St. Peter’s Basilica. They participate in the votive Mass Pro Eligendo Papa (for the election of a pope).

In the afternoon, they assemble in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace. Attired in choir dress, they will invoke the assistance of the Holy Spirit with the chant Veni Creator and will solemnly process to the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace where the election will be held (50).

The vote will take place exclusively in the Sistine Chapel. Therefore, “it will 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 anyway pertaining directly or indirectly to the election of the Supreme Pontiff. … careful and stringent checks must be made with the help of trustworthy individuals of proven technical ability to ensure that no audiovisual equipment has been secretly installed in these areas for recording and transmission to the outside” (51).

After they witness the cardinals taking their oath (see below), those not taking part in the conclave must leave the Sistine Chapel. The exceptions will be the master of papal liturgical celebrations and the ecclesiastic who will preach the second meditation (cf. UDG 13).

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The Oath of the Cardinal Electors

The cardinal dean or the cardinal who has precedence by order and seniority will read aloud the following formula:

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 February 22, 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 [duty of Peter] of pastor of the universal church and will not fail to affirm and defend strenuously the spiritual and temporal rights and 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 favor to any interference, opposition or any form of intervention, whereby secular authorities might wish to intervene in the election of the Roman pontiff (53).

According to their order of precedence, each individual cardinal will make the following oath: “And I, N. Cardinal N., do so promise, pledge and swear.” Placing his hand on the Book of the Gospels, he will add, “So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my hand” (ibid.).

Finally, after the meditation has been preached, the master of papal ceremonies and the preacher, leave the Chapel. Prayers are recited. The cardinal dean asks if the cardinal electors have any questions or require any clarification.

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Strict Observance of Secrecy During the Voting Process

The cardinal camerlengo and three cardinal assistants must be especially vigilant in maintaining secrecy. For the whole duration of the election, cardinal electors are required “to refrain from written correspondence and from all conversations, including those by telephone or radio, with any person not admitted to” the Apostolic Palace or the Sancta Marthae (56). Such conversations shall be permitted only for the most grave or urgent reasons.

The cardinal electors may not receive or send message of any kind outside Vatican City and no one in Vatican City can deliver such messages. It is specifically prohibited for the cardinal electors to receive newspapers or periodical, to listen to radio, or to watch television.

Anyone who violates this secrecy –whether by words, writing, or signs – may incur the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae. This secrecy is to be maintained after the election as well, unless the new pope gives explicit permission.

John Paul II was particularly stringent when he forbad the use of any instruments for recording or reproducing of sound, visual images, or the written word (61).

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Election Procedures

Two-thirds of the votes are required to be elected (80 of 120 if all potential electors are present). If the number does not divide evenly into thirds, a valid election will require two-thirds plus one (UDG 62).

The voting begins immediately after the cardinal dean has ascertained that there are no additional questions. Only one ballot will be taken on the afternoon of the first day. If additional days are needed, two ballots be will be held in the morning and two in the afternoon on the following day(s).

The voting process is carried out in three phases:

I. Prescrutiny

A. The preparation and distribution of 2 or 3 ballots to each elector

B. Nine names are randomly drawn to collect votes from the infirmed cardinals. The first three will serve as “scrutineers;” the next three as the “infirmarii” (those who will collect the votes the sick); and the last three will serve as “revisers.”

C. If any of the nine names drawn are among the infirmed, other names will be drawn.

D. The ballot paper must be rectangular in shape and bear in the upper half the words eligo in summum Pontificem [I choose as supreme pontiff]; on the lower half there is space for writing a name. Thus the ballot is made in such a way as it can be folded in two.

E. The cardinal will write one name and print it legibly and in a handwriting that cannot be identified as his. He will fold the ballot twice.

F. During the balloting, the cardinal electors are to be alone in the Sistine Chapel. Therefore, immediately after distributing the ballots, 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 will close the door, opening and closing it each time as necessary, such as when the cardinals go to collect the votes from the infirmed and when they return to the chapel.

II. The Scrutiny Proper

A. Each cardinal, in order of precedence, folds, his ballot, holds it up so that it may be seen, and carries it to the altar. Scrutineers watch as the ballot is placed in a receptacle on the altar. The cardinal says, “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 a plate, which he drops into the receptacle. Having done this he bows to the altar and returns to his place. If anyone is too infirmed to walk to the altar, the lector pronounces the oath, hands the folded ballot to a scrutineer, carries it to the altar in full view, places it on the plate, and drops it in.

If there are electors who are confined to their rooms, the three scrutineers pick up a hinge-top box with an opening in the top for ballots. They open it publicly, certifying that it is empty. They close it, lock it, and place the key upon the altar. Then, three cardinals, chosen earlier to go to the sick, carry the box and a tray with a sufficient number of empty ballots. In his room, each infirmed cardinal, writes a name, takes the oath, and puts the folded ballot in the opening of the box.

The three cardinals return to the Sistine Chapel, where the scrutineers count the ballots, ascertaining that the number corresponds to the number or infirmed cardinals. Then the ballots are added to the receptacle.

B. The receptacle is shaken several times in order to mix the ballots. The scrutineer picks each ballot out in full view and places them in another empty receptacle prepared for this purpose. If the number of votes does not correspond to the total number of electors, the ballots are burned and another vote is taken at once. If the number does correspond, the opening of the ballots takes place.

C. The three scrutineers sit at a table in front of the altar. The first unfolds the ballot, notes the name of the person on it, and passes it to the second who notes the name, and passes it to the third, who reads it in a loud clear voice, so that all electors present may record it on a sheet of paper at their place.

While each ballot is opened, the scrutineers also record the votes for each name. As he reads each one, the last scrutineer pierces the ballot with a needle and thread through the word eligo. After all the names have been read, the ends of the thread are tied in a knot and the bundle of ballots is placed in a receptacle at the end of the table.

III. The Post-Scrutiny

A. The scrutineers add up all the votes each individual has received and if no one has the requisite two-thirds, the pope has not been elected. If “someone has received two thirds of the votes, the canonically valid election of the pope has taken place” (70).

B. The revisers check both the ballots and the notes made by the scrutineers.

C. Immediately after the checking has taken place and before the cardinal electors leave the Sistine Chapel, all the ballots are burned by the scrutineers with the help of the secretary of the conclave and masters of ceremonies who have been summoned back into the room. If a second ballot must be taken immediately, the first bundle is burned with the second. All notes made by the scrutineers and by each cardinal present are also burned (71).

D. An official document will be drawn up by the cardinal camerlengo and approved by the scrutineers; this document will record the vote of each session. It will be given to the new supreme pontiff, sealed in an envelope, and kept in a designated archive. No one may open it unless the supreme pontiff gives explicit permission.

E. In subsequent balloting, cardinals need not repeat the long, initial oath nor choose new scrutineers, infirmarrii, and revisers. Each morning, the sacred prayers and rites are observed as laid down in Ordo Rituum Conclavis.

F. If after three days, no one is elected, voting is suspended for one day to allow for prayer and informal discussion. The senior cardinal in the order of deacons will give a brief exhortation. Voting is resumed on the fifth day. If after seven ballots, no one is elected, there is another pause for prayer, discussion and a brief exhortation form the senior cardinal in the order of priests. Voting is then resumed and , if no one is elected, may continue for seven ballots.

G. If an election still has not occurred, the cardinal camerlengo may invite the cardinal electors to express and opinion about the manner of proceeding. The election will proceed in the manner determined by an absolute majority of the electors. “Nevertheless, there can be no waiving of the requirement that a valid election takes place only by the absolute majority of the votes or else by voting 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” (75).

H. Should an election take place in any way other than the way prescribed, “the election …is null and void …” and “consequently, it confers no right on the one elected. All that precedes the election and in the carrying out of the election must be observed “even if it means that a vacancy in the Apostolic See should occur” [cf. Canon 333.2] (77).

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Matters to be Observed or Avoided

In the election of a Roman pontiff, Pope John Paul II expressly forbad anyone to engage in simony, to make plans or promises in private conversations, or to accept any interference from civil authority. “I likewise forbid the cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations committing themselves of a common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elected to the pontificate” (82).

“Having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their mind is most suited to govern the universal church in a fruitful and beneficial way” (83).

The Pope asked for the prayers of the entire church during the vacancy of the Apostolic See – “thus the election of the new pope will not be something unconnected with the people of God and concerning the college of electors alone, but will be in a certain sense the act of the whole church” (84). The Pope specifically recommended this prayer to the “venerable cardinals who by reason of age no longer enjoy the right to take part in the election …” (85).

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Watching for the Famous White Smoke

While the conclave is in session, the entire Church will be praying for the electors and for the prospective pope. When the ballots are burned, oil is added to the fire so that the smoke that escapes from the chimney is dark. On the final, successful ballot, nothing is added to the fire so that the smoke is white. The crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square will cheer and the billions watching on televisions around the world will know that a new pope has been elected.

When the vote is decisive, the junior cardinal deacon summons the secretary of the College of Cardinals and the master of papal liturgical celebrations into the Sistine Chapel.

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Consent by the New Pope

The cardinal dean (or the one who is first in order of seniority or precedence) then asks the consent of the one who has been elected – “Do you accept your canonical election as supreme pontiff?” As soon as he gives that consent, he is asked, “By what name do you wished to be called?”

The papal master of ceremonies, acting as notary, and summoning two masters of ceremonies as witnesses, draws up a document concerning his acceptance and new name.

If he has already received episcopal ordination, he is immediately Bishop of Rome and head of the college of bishops. If he is not, he shall be immediately ordained bishop by the dean of the College of Cardinals using the usual Rite of Ordination of a Bishop.

The electors come forward to make an act of homage and obedience. An act of thanksgiving is made to God.

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Announcement to the World

The senior cardinal deacon announces to the waiting people that the election has taken place and proclaims the name of the new pontiff. The new pope immediately imparts the apostolic blessing, urbi et orbi (to the city and world) from the balcony of the Vatican basilica.

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End of the Conclave and Immediate Duties

The conclave is officially ended as soon as the new supreme pontiff assents to his election, unless he decides otherwise. The new pope is approached about any urgent matters (91). After the solemn ceremony of the inauguration and within an appropriate time, the new pope takes possession of the archbasilica of the Lateran according to the prescribed ritual (92).

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  • Pastor Bonus (1988) Pope John Paul II
  • Quae Divinitus (March 25, 1935) Pope Pius XI
  • Ordo Rituum Conclavis prayers for the conclave
  • Ordo Exsequiarum Romani Pontificis funeral rites for the pope
  • Romano Pontifici Eligendo (October 1, 1975) Apostolic constitution of Paul VI
  • Regimini Ecclesia Universae (August 15, 1967) Apostolic constitution of Paul VI
  • Ingravescentem Aetatem (November 21, 1970) motu proprio of Paul VI
  • Summi Pontificis Electio (September 5, 1962) motu proprio of John XXIII
  • Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (December 8, 1945) apostolic constitution of Pius XII
  • "Origins" CNS Documentary service March 7, 1996 Volume 25, No. 37 for the full text of Universi Dominici Gregis (Of the Lord’s Whole Flock).

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