How a Pope Is Elected

As Pope Benedict prepares to step down from the papacy on February 28, we look ahead to the Conclave which will determine who will lead the Church into the future.

Vatican Insider, an on-line publication of the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, has produced an excellent multimedia tutorial, showing us just how it’s done.  This may clear up some of the confusion which is likely in the interregnum, the period after February 28 when the Chair of Peter is vacant, and before the Cardinal Protodeacon steps onto the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to proclaim “Habemus Papam”!  Click on the picture below to watch the tutorial.

By the way, the format for the “Habemus Papam” announcement (in English, “We have a pope!”) is, in Latin:

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam!
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum [First Name] Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem [Last Name],
Qui sibi nomen imposuit [Papal Name].

In English, it reads:

I announce to you a great joy:
We have a Pope!
The most eminent and most reverend Lord,
Lord [First Name] Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church [Last Name],
Who takes for himself the name of [Papal Name].

And here, an illustration of the “Habemus Papam” announcement in 1415, at the Council of Constance.


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