Selecting the Pope: Uncovering the Mysteries of Papal Elections


The selection of the next pope is the most important decision affecting Roman Catholics in over twenty-five years. Award-winning author Greg Tobin offers the perfect guide to understanding the process, history, and present-day issues impacting that decision.

Selecting the Pope examines each rule of the election process—and explores the rich history behind the conclave and the...

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Selecting the Pope: Uncovering the Mysteries of Papal Elections

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The selection of the next pope is the most important decision affecting Roman Catholics in over twenty-five years. Award-winning author Greg Tobin offers the perfect guide to understanding the process, history, and present-day issues impacting that decision.

Selecting the Pope examines each rule of the election process—and explores the rich history behind the conclave and the key issues that will shape the future of the Catholic Church.

You'll discover:

  • Why the election always concludes with the rising of white smoke
  • What powers the cardinals hold during the vacancy of the Holy See
  • Pope John Paul II's startling changes to the centuries-old election process
  • A day-by-day account of the balloting inside the Sistine Chapel
  • How the electors should behave during the conclave—even their "dress code"
  • Ancient rituals for confirming a pope's death—including striking him with a hammer!
  • A look at the list of probable successors to John Paul II
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The author of two religious novels centered on the Vatican (Conclave and Council), Catholic scholar Greg Tobin explains the complex history of papal elections in this lively and informative book. He illuminates details, examining the evolution of the balloting system and describing the changes John Paul II brought to the process of choosing his own successor. Finally, he analyzes potential successors and discusses what effect they would have on the Catholic Church.
Publishers Weekly
As Pope John Paul II celebrates his Silver Jubilee this year (making his tenure the third longest in papal history), his apparently failing health has been a concern to many. Speculation abounds about who will succeed him, and when. In Selecting the Pope: Uncovering the Mysteries of Papal Elections, Greg Tobin describes the labyrinthine process of choosing a successor, and even gives some odds for various contenders. The book's second half outlines the complex rules for a papal election and some of the challenges that will face the new pope. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
These two books offer some educated guesses about the next pope but are valuable mainly for their intriguing details regarding past popes and their accounts of the procedure used to select a pope, from the often raucous means used prior to the 13th century, to the conclave election by cardinals of the Church used since 1274, to the significant modifications legislated by the present pope. Though similar in scope, the books differ significantly. Tobin's is short on history and long on lists and documents; its strongest feature is the inclusion of the new statutes for papal elections and the list of cardinal-electors who might be in conclave within the year. Walsh's book is long on history and short on lists and documents; a unique feature is its detailing of the rise and demise of the "capitulations" through which a papal candidate would promise his fellow cardinals to abide by the common wisdom of their old-boy network. Recommended for seminary and academic libraries and for community libraries with strong religion circulation.-David I. Fulton, Coll. of St. Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402729546
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/3/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,025,977
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Preface xiii

Part I History and Development of Papal Elections 1

The Petrine Ministry 3

Primacy and Succession 6

Scriptural Sources: The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles 8

The Early Church of Rome: A.D. 64-476 12

Eight Turbulent Centuries: 476-1274 19

The Origin of the Conclave: 1274-1303 26

Exile and Schism, Reformation and Revolution: 1303-1800 29

The Holy Father: 1800-1903 32

Modern Popes and the Papacy: 1903-Present 34

Part II The Rules of the Papal Election 47

The Apostolic Constitution: Universi Dominici Gregis 48

The Vacancy of the Apostolic See 52

The Death of the Pope 54

The Powers of the College of Cardinals during the Sede Vacante 57

The Government of the Church during the Vacancy 59

The Congregations of the Cardinals in Preparation for the Election 61

Funeral Rites of the Roman Pontiff 64

The Election of the Roman Pontiff 65

The Electors: Who They Are; Rights and Responsibilities 67

The Conclave and Who May Be Admitted 70

The Election Begins 72

The Observance of Secrecy Regarding the Election 74

The Election Procedure 77

"Matters to Be Observed or Avoided" in the Election Process 81

Acceptance and Proclamation of the New Pope 82

Part III Challenges Awaiting the Next Pope 87

Benedict's Legacy 88

The Church in Its Third Millennium 90

Crisis in the American Church 96

The Question of Collegiality 102

Gender, Globalization, and Ecumenism 106

Who Will It Be? 114

Appendix A The Chronology of the Popes 120

Appendix B Timeline of the History of Papal Elections 128

Appendix C The Cardinal Electors 134

Appendix D Apostolic Constitution 144


Glossary 182

Sources and Recommended Reading 187

Acknowledgments 190

Index 191

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2003

    A very comprehensive, yet concise, book

    This book is really an informative history of the popes and an explanation of how popes are actually elected, and all of the strange things that go on after the pope dies. I found this a fascinating book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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