Tag Archives: elected pope

The Next Pope: Why The Winner Needs The Backing Of A Hybrid Coalition.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.


Guruge 2020 Papabili Series — #V


You need a Supermajority, i.e., two-thirds of the votes cast, to be elected pope.

Coming up with this supermajority was a STROKE of genius. Yes, it sure complicates matters (and used to lead to interminably long elections) but it makes sure that the elected pope enjoyed a genuine mandate from his electorate. [It is also the case that one-thirds of the electorate can always block a candidate they do not want.]

The next conclave (unless Francis changes the 120 max ruling) is likely to have between 117 to 120 electors. Let’s, for this calculation, say 118. That means 79 electors MUST get behind the winner. [It also means that 39 can always BLOCK an election.]

Cobbling together 79 votes is not easy. Harder than most realize.

The ONLY group of electors that exceed that number is the total of active Archbishops & Bishops put together. But, they are NOT a homogeneous block that will always vote together. Geography for a start, plays a role before the ever crucial ideology kicks in.

Geography is interesting. Europe no longer can rustle up the majority and have been unable to do so for nearly (ir over) 90-years.

So, study the above chart. It gives you a good picture of the factions at play.


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by Anura Guruge

Pius XII (#261) And The Camerlengo.

by Anura Guruge



That Pius XII (#261) was camerlengo when elected pope on Thursday, March 2, 1939, his 63rd birthday, is fairly well known. As far as we know he is the only one elected pope on his birthday, and but just one of three on-duty camerlenghi to be elected pope. Two 13th century popes had been camerlenghi earlier in their careers but had relinquished this office by the time they were elected.

Pius XII was also the Secretary of State (S.S.) when elected. Again, just one of three that were ‘S.S.’ when elected pope.

Pius XII was pope for 7,161 days — 19 years, 7 months, 1 week, the 14th longest papacy to date.

During this fairly lengthy papacy, spanning all of WW II, he only had a Secretary of State for 27.82% of the time — and that was his childhood buddy. That was it. One S.S., for 5 years 5 months, and even that a person he had known since his childhood. When this S.S. died, he never appointed a permanent S.S.


Pop Quiz

So we have the stats for the S.S. What about the Camerlengo?

For what percentage of his 19.58 year tenure did Pacelli have an official Camerlengo (and I stress ‘official’ here because saying that Lehnert was his Vice-Pope (VP) doesn’t count). Have a stab?

9.31%. Yes, 667 days — 1 year, 9 months, 3 weeks and 6 days. That was IT. For the remainder of the 6,494 days, 17.78 years, this office was left vacant.

Ill health was a hallmark of his life. He was quite ill for the last 4 years of his life, hiccuping uncontrollably for much of this time! During this time he had many blood transfusions. But, he still did not appoint a Camerlengo to administer his funeral.

When he died, at Castel Gandolfo, with his quack physician taking pictures of the dying pope (per a commission from the French Match magazine), there was no Camerlengo!


The Dean of the College of Cardinals, the ever impeccable, French, Eugène Tisserant, stepped into the breach and performed the death verification duties of the Camerlengo — though he was probably out-of-order for doing so. What he should have done was to have a Camerlengo elected then and there. In reality they did do that, within the day, giving us then 79.3 year old Benedetto Aloisi Masella who would hold that post until he died in September 1970 aged 91.3. [He would have had to have relinquished the post in 3 months as Paul VI’s (#263), 80-year rules were about to kick-in on January 1, 1971. But, he died before the cut-off was even announced in November of 1970.]

Not appointing a S.S. or a Camerlengo does speak to Pius XII’s weak personality — not to mention his conspicuous reluctance to create cardinals. He was obviously an extremely insecure man. Who he did appoint for short stints as S.S. and Camerlengo are also telling. One was a childhood friend, the other was the Major Penitentiary. The M.P. is one office that the pope has to keep filled. So he makes that the Camerlnego too. Very strange. Very sad.

I am always perplexed when people assert that he was a ‘good’ pope. So today I checked. Richard P. McBrien in HIS ratings of the popes totally omits Pius XII. That alone speaks volumes. He doesn’t even get a mention as a historically important pope. Well in this case I am with McBrien.


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by Anura Guruge

Cardinal Bishops Elected Pope (as of 769).

by Anura Guruge


The 897 ‘cadaver synod’ involving Formosus (#112), the first cardinal bishop to be elected pope.


There have been 29 cardinal bishops elected pope since 769.

The last pope, Benedict XVI (#266), is the latest of those 29. Prior to him it was Pius VIII (#254) in 1829 — a 176 year gap with 12 intervening popes.

I was surprised that there had been 29. I thought, before I started compiling the list, that the number would be in the low 20s — comparable to the 22 cardinal deacons elected pope.

EXISTING BISHOPS BECOMING THE BISHOP OF ROME (i.e., the Pope)

Please refer to the cardinal deacons post, (earlier today), for why I use 769 as the start date when it comes to ‘cardinals.’ Coincidentally, probably providentially, 769 also happens to be the year that the term ‘cardinal bishop’ (episcopi cardinals), was introduced into ‘Rome speak,’ in the context of a weekly roster of hebdomadarii bishops who would conduct Mass on Sundays at St. Peter’s, in rotation. [Pages 85 & 105 of ‘The Next Pope‘ book.]

Please study the ‘edibility to be pope’ table in the cardinal deacons post.

Note that the seminal 769 synod pointedly excluded cardinal bishops from being elected pope.

This was NOT a mistake or oversight. There was a very sound rationale for this exclusion — the prohibition against clerical, and in particular bishopric, transfers, codified way back in 325 at the pivotal First Council of Nicaea [Turkey], convened and presided over by no other than Emperor Constantine the Great [who legitimized Christianity].

In December of 882, John VIII (#108), a pope with a penchant for dabbling in secular politics, was murdered — poisoned and then clubbed until he was dead, supposedly by members of his retinue, possibly even relatives. Two days after John VIII’s murder, Marinus I (#109), the Bishop of Caere [~30 miles NNW of Rome], was elected pope. He was the first bishop to be elected pope. He was not, however, a cardinal bishop. [Page 45, ‘The Next Pope.‘]

Formosus (#112), the unfortunate subject of the despicable 897 ‘cadaver synod,’ was the first cardinal bishop to be elected pope — in 891. One of the ‘crimes’ he was accused of, albeit when he was a cadaver, was the ‘translation of bishops,’ i.e., the bishop of one see becoming the bishop of another, even if it was the see of Rome.

WHY THERE HAVEN”T BEEN MORE CARDINAL BISHOPS ELECTED POPE

Prior to 1059, the prevailing laws and traditions precluded cardinal bishops from being elected pope, though as is always the case in papal history, three cardinal bishops, starting with Formosus, were elected pope between 769 and 1059.

There can only be 6 (and at one time 7) cardinal bishops, at any one time — so they are not as numerous as cardinal priests or even cardinal deacons.

At least of late (i.e., the last few centuries), the cardinal bishops may have been older than the norm.

Cardinal bishops, given their seniority, may have had closer links to prior popes, especially the most recently deceased, which made them less attractive. [However, in the case of the current pope, Benedict XVI, it was indeed this close relationship with the prior pope that made him attractive to the cardinal electors.]

THE LIST OF CARDINAL BISHOPS ELECTED POPE (AS OF 769)

Click to ENLARGE.

Notes and explanations follow.

In the ‘Seq #’ field a YELLOW background denotes successive pope, while the GREEN background denotes papacy that occurred close together.

In the ‘created’ field, the [O] for ‘order,’ indicates B=bishop, P=priest & D=deacon.

‘Xs’ field portrays transfers within the College. Please refer to this post about jus optionis preferment rules within the College. In the ‘x+y’ notation, the first number refers to transfers prior to becoming a cardinal bishop while the second number refers to the number of moves between suburbicarian sees while a cardinal bishop — though this number does NOT include getting Ostia upon becoming the Dean of the College of Cardinals. The YELLOW background indicates noteworthy exceptions. Leo XI requested five separate transfers while a cardinal priest. On February 14, 1592, he opted for one title then changed his mind and opted for another! A ‘P’ indicates elevation from cardinal deacon to cardinal priest, while ‘C’ denotes a title awarded ‘in commendam,’ please refer to <this post>.

As of 1150, when the College was formed, the Dean of the College was supposed to get Ostia. But this did not come to be, in a consistent manner, till much, much later. The BLUE background highlight scenarios when Ostia was not properly assigned, or assigned prior to the cardinal bishop becoming the Dean.

NOTES 1 & 2: Formosus and Silvester III held these sees, viz. Porto and Sabina, in two very distinct periods of time. In the case of the latter, he went back to be the Cardinal Bishop of Sabina when he was ousted as being pope! Formosus was excommunicated in 876 and eventually exiled. Marinus, the first bishop to transfer into Rome, reinstated him!


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by Anura Guruge