In 1054, the Bishop of Constantinople ordered the closure of all Latin churches in Constantinople, thus beginning the east – west split known as the Great Schism. For roughly 250 years turmoil reigned as eastern and western influences battled for control of the faith. Hoping to figure out a way to resolve the split, and plan for the future, Gregory X convened the Second Council of Lyons in March 1272 (roughly a lot of years ago). An ancillary agenda item (along with the death of Thomas Aquinas) was the discussion of reforming the process of resolving states of sede vacante as concerning the Bishop of Rome.
Specifically, the Council was frustrated by the interregnum of 1268-1271 where there was no apostolic Successor to St. Peter. Prior to the Second Council of Lyons, electorate Cardinals were free to leave the conclave at their will. Accordingly, the elevation process became open to substantial political influence and public scrutiny.
Seeking to end such long election periods, and limit political influence on the College, Gregory X (also know as Stumpy Pete) decreed to the Council that cardinals were no longer allowed to leave the Conclave until the Successor to St. Peter was chosen. Of course, as we know, the decision to sequester the College of Cardinals did not end the political influence. In fact, until the 20th Century key catholic monarchs actually held a veto power known as the jus exclusivae over the election of the Bishop of Rome. (The last such “veto” occurred in 1903 when Austria communicated through it’s Cardinal Prince Kosielsko that it opposed the election of Cardinal Rampolla. Ha. Austria player on a global stage….those were the days)
Anywho, while the process has developed some over the last 800 years, the process today is much the same as it was in the 13th century. Following the death or resignation of the Bishop of Rome, a Concalve from the College of Cardinals is convened. The College must not contain more than 120 Cardinals under the age of 80. An oath is administered prior to seating the College in the Sistine Chapel. All votes are to be conducted in peace and quiet in the Chapel. The voting process may begin on the first afternoon of the conclave, but only one vote may proceed at that time. Following that Cardinals may vote up to 4 times in a day, with a maximum of 33 ballots are conducted. A Pope is elected when a Cardinal receives a super-majority of votes (2/3). Voting is to done in absolutely secrecy and any Cardinal who threatens the secrecy is subject to excommunication.
Of course, given the power granted to the Vicar, and the global influence he wields, politics are still entrenched in the process. With over 1 billion followers (or about 75% of the Justin Bieber’s fanbase….shoot me now) and Cardinals from all over the world, there are many competing influences in the election. Speculation is rampant. Currently there are elements that would like to see a the dawn of a new era through the election of a non-European Pope. A Vatican Spring if you will. Others, wish for the election of a seasoned member of the Curia; one well versed in the ways of Vatican governance so as to push through a series of much needed reforms while maintaining much of the staid ways of history.
Currently, the signals are tending towards the election of the Old Guard. In fact, many commentators have stated that when taken as a whole the influence of the Pacific and North American clergy, along with the influence of the Cardinal from Quebec, and a
colder less enthusiastic conclave the likelihood of a spring change is low. That’s not always a bad thing.
Famously, at the end of each voting voting process the ballots are burned with additives to create a fumata nera signaling no super-majority had been reached. When a successful vote occurred, the ballots were burned alone (or with extra paper) to create fumata bianca.
Of course, with our intense interest in global politics, we’ll let you know as soon as the fumata bianca starts blowing.
Not less than 4 hours after this went live, the Conclave picked a new Pope, AND it snowed 4-8 along the Spine. fumata bianca bitches.
And maybe some more:
With an upper trough in place over the NE a cool and generally moist environment prevail for the next 48-72 hours. With a west wind, light orographic snows are likely today thru tomorrow morning acorss the Green and White mountains. (1-3″). Late friday, a shortwave impulse will dive into the region from the N/W. The uplift ahead of the impulse’s vortmax will enhance lift and spark heavier snow showers in the region. Right now, it looks like a 3-7 type snow is possible Friday night into Saturday along the Green Spine, with 2-4 in the ADK and Whites.
All hail Francis I, the bringer of snow, the maker of powz.
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