Papal Election Research Guide
This guide lists and describes sources for researching the law of papal elections.
After a papacy that lasted almost 8 years, Pope Benedict XVI has decided to resign, effective February 28, 2013. This is the first time in 600 years that a pope has stepped down. Pope Benedict XVI is 85 years old and was quoted as saying, "Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
On February 25, 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict had signed a legal document making changes to the conclave starting date so that a new pope could be elected before Easter. This marks the first changes to the papal election procedures since the 1996 papal election law passed by Pope John Paul II.
Below are websites and books that inform the election process in general.
THE NEW POPE
The new pope is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76 years old. He is from Argentina, making him the first pope from the American continents. He has chosen Pope Francis I for his papal name.
We know this is the real deal because the official twitter account for the pope has spoken.
THE PAPAL ELECTION PROCESS
- We have a new Pope!
- And we have the first sighting of black smoke.
- The conclave has begun.
- The College of Cardinals have voted for the conclave to start on Tuesday, March 12. Further, the chimney has been installed in the Sistine Chapel.
- The College of Cardinals imposes a media blackout after private information from their first meeting was leaked to the Italian press.
- Most Recent Change to the Election Process via Vatican Press Release
- The Library of Congress offers an in-depth look at the recent changes made by Pope Benedict to the papal election rules.
UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS (Apostolic Constitution of Pope John Paul II on the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff, 22 February, 1996)
UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS embodies the "special laws" referred to in canon 335 of the Code of Canon Law: "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." The "special laws" included in this apostolic constitution govern the norms the Cardinals are to follow when the Roman See becomes vacant. They also govern the procedure of electing a new pope.
Though the pope has been selected from amongst a group of cardinals since the 1300s (Pope Urban VI in 1378 was the last pope elected from outside the College of Cardinals. The last person elected as pope who was not already an ordained priest or monk was Pope Leo X in 1513.), theoretically, the only formal requirements for being elected are that the candidate be a single male of good standing within the Catholic church (see the UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS, No.s 83, 88, 89, and 90 for the only guidance on who may be elected as pope). Sadly, that means this young applicant, while apparently single and male, is inelligble because he is not Catholic. Better luck next time, sir.
Below is a list of some of the front-runners for the papacy. It should be noted that there have been several recent popes who were not considered to be among the papabili, including both John Paul I and John Paul II.
- Cardinal Angelo Scola - Italy
- Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer - Brazil
- Cardinal Peter Turkson - Ghana
- Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P. - Austria
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, S.S.P. - Canada
- Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle - Phillipines
- Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan - United States
- Cardinal Peter Erdo - Hungary
- Cardinal Gionfranco Ravasi - Italy
- Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga - Honduras
- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri - Argentina
- Cardinal Robert Sarah - Guinea
For those who like to indulge in fantasy football and the like, perhaps you'd enjoy playing FantasyPope?
PAPAL NAME SELECTION
The process by which a new pope announces his selected name is outlined in the UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS, No. 87.
- Generally speaking, the name a pope chooses has some significance regarding the mission or mindset of that particular pope. For example, Pope Benedict XVI explains here why he chose "Benedict."
Because Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope to retire since Gregory XII in 1415, there are questions as to what happens to a former pope. Some answers have begun to come forth and as more are given, they will be posted here.
- The Pope's name and clothing upon retirement
The biggest takeaway from this article is that Pope Benedict will have to stop wearing his red shoes as Pope Emeritus. This leads to a bigger question - what's the importance of the red shoes?
THE RED SHOES
Contrary to popular belief, the red shoes sported by Pope Benedict XVI are not made by Prada. But even if the Pope doesn't wear Prada, that doesn't mean he shies away from designer products completely.
There's actually a very long tradition of red papal footwear.
The shade of red can vary from pope to pope.
- There is a guide, of sorts, for papal and cardinal fashion, extending from headwear all the way to footwear. Note that this instruction, given in 1968, actually discourages the use of red shoes.
SELECTED BOOKS ON THE HISTORY OF PAPAL ELECTIONS
- Pham, John-Peter, Heirs of the Fisherman: Behind the Scenes of Papal Death and Succession. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Williams 5th Floor, BX1805 .P45 2004
This book offers six chapters that cover the modern development of the papal conclave. In addition, the appendices provide the papal documents that have led to the current procedures.
- Baumgartner, Frederic J., Behind Locked Doors: A History of the Papal Elections. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Williams 5th Floor, BX1805 .B324 2004
This is a reference guide to every papal election up till the death of Pope John Paul II. Baumgartner fills the book with useful information, such as the fact that using white smoke to indicate selection of a pope is a relatively recent (1914) development.
- Allen, John L., Conclave: The Politics, Personalities, and Process of the Next Papal Election. New York: Image/Doubleday, 2002
Lauinger Library Stacks, BX1805 .A54 2002
- Burkle-Young, Francis A., Passing the Keys: Modern Cardinals, Conclaves, and the Election of the Next Pope. Lanham, Md.: Madison Books, 1999.
Lauinger Library Stacks, BX1805 .B87 1999
- Avadi, Zsolt, The Popes: The History of How They are Chosen, Elected, and Crowned. New York, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1955.
Lauinger Library Stacks, BX1805 .A7
BOOKS ON THE PAPACY
- Norwich, John Julius, The Popes: A History. London, Chatto & Windus, 2011.
Lauinger Woodstock Stacks, BX955.3 .N67 2011
- O'Malley, John W., A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present. Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.
Lauinger Library Stacks, BX955.3 .O43 2010
- Bellitto, Christopher M., 101 Questions & Answers on Popes and the Papacy. New York, Paulist Press, 2008.
Lauinger Woodstock Stacks, BX957 .B45 O5
- Gillis, Chester, ed., The Political Papacy: John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Their Influence. Boulder, Paradigm Publishers, 2006.
Lauinger Library Stacks, BX1378.5 .P65 2006
- Walsh, Michael, The Conclave: A Sometimes Secret and Occasionally Bloody History of Papal Elections. Lanham, MD, Sheed & Ward, 2003.
Lauinger Library Stacks, BX1805 .W34 2003
- Duffy, Eamon, Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes. New Haven. Yale University Press, 2002.
Lauinger Woodstock Stacks, 274.56 D874, S21
- Rendina, Claudio, The Popes: Histories and Secrets. Santa Ana, CA, Seven Locks Press, 2002.
Williams 5th Floor, BX955.3 .R4613 2002
This is a book, translated from Italian to English, that contains entries for each of the 264 men who have served as Pope since St. Peter. While the entries are well written and respectful, criticism of certain papal policies is made and many of the works cited in the bibliography were written before 1980.
- Levillain, Phillip, ed., The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. New York, Routledge, 2002.
Lauinger Library REF, BX955.2 .D53 2002
- Coppa, Frank J., ed., Encyclopedia of the Vatican and Papacy. Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 1999.
Lauinger Library REF, BX955.2 .E53 1999
- Brunsen, Matthew, The Pope Encyclopedia: An A to Z of the Holy See. New York, Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1995.
Lauinger Woodstock REF, 274.56003 B885, P6
- Kelly, J.N.D., The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press,1988.
Williams REF, BX955.2 .K45 1988
This book is the ultimate reference source for quick information on each of the popes. Every entry has an accompanying bibliography of source material and there are many cross-references. The book is arranged chronologically.
The Vatican (English site)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Catholic News Service
"CNS is editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."
Catholic News Agency
USEFUL DATABASES AND OTHER ELECTRONIC RESOURCES
Westlaw's POPESPEAKS database contains journal of papal letters, addresses, and other documents of the Roman Catholic Church (January 1, 2000 - May 1, 2005 - no longer being updated)
Gregg, Samuel, The Modern Papacy. New York, Continuum, 2009. (ebook)
Revised March 13, 2013 (HEC)
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