What is the Papal Conclave and How Does it Work?

What is the Papal Conclave and How Does it Work?

The Papal Conclave is an ancient Catholic ritual of selecting a new Pope. It’s made up of 6 steps, which are:

  • The Cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel and pray together;
  • A Scrutineer reads out the names of all eligible Cardinals;
  • A Cardinal, in turn, casts a ballot for himself and each Cardinal does this in turn;
  • The Scrutineer then examines the ballots to see if any Cardinal has achieved two thirds or more of the votes cast;
  • If there is no clear winner, another round begins with only those on whom at least two-thirds of votes were cast in the previous round;
  • If there is still no clear winner, another round begins with only those on whom at least two

An ancient tradition, the papal conclave is the process by which the College of Cardinals elects a new Pope. It is a process that was established by the College of Cardinals, not by the Church.

The papal conclave starts with a Mass of the Holy Spirit. The cardinals are prayed over and given their duties to decide who will be the next pope from among themselves.

After this, they move to a secluded place where they will stay for the night.

Papal Conclave

History of the Papal Conclave and What Happens Now?

The papal conclave is an election held by the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church following the death or resignation of the Pope. It is possible for it to be called before the Papacy falls vacant if the Pope becomes incapacitated.

The conclave is made up of cardinals who are under 80 years old and usually reside in Rome. There’re exceptions, though. Cardinal Jean Villot, for example, was 80 when Pope John Paul I died despite being a cardinal stationed in Rome at the time.

Tens of thousands of people watched the papal conclave on the giant screen at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

The cardinals, who had spent nearly two weeks debating inside the Sistine Chapel, emerged to ask the world: Who do you want to be pope?

Why Are There No More Papal Conclaves For Now?

Papal conclaves were a process that was used to elect the Pope after the death of the sitting one. The last papal conclave was in 2013.

The last papal conclave was in 2013; it took two days for cardinals to come to an agreement. A lot has changed since then, including more than twice as many cardinals and more than double the number of electors.

The pope is no longer chosen by cardinals of Rome, but rather by all 115 of them.

What Does The Choice Of A Successor Mean For The Current Pope?



The choice of the new pope is the most important decision for the Catholic Church.

The pope is considered to be infallible, and bishops are required to obey his commands. The Catholic Church’s power comes from its interpretation of this belief.

While the church has always been led by a European, it is expected that an African or Latin American will become pope soon due to regional demographic trends.


Papal Conclave

The procedure for the papal conclave is fairly simple. They walk in and after hearing sermons on the state of the Church, they vote up to four times a day with secret ballots. Whenever a pope needs to be chosen, ballots are counted and have the numbers recorded on them. If two-thirds of voters approve any one candidate, he/she will be elected. However, if a candidate does not meet the two-thirds criteria after all ballots are read and counted, chemicals are introduced to make the smoke from the burning ballots turn dark; this indicates that. Every 3 days or 7 votes, a break is given for prayer and contemplation by the conclave.

Devout Catholics have gathered in St. Peter’s square to watch the chimney of the Sistine Chapel for Pope-elect Francis. White smoke emerged which signals that the Pope has taken a vow of office and now dons his papal vestments before signaling the square from the balcony.

Tradition dictates that the office of Pope is not campaigned for. Any baptized male Catholic may be elected Pope, although the last non-priest elected was Leo X in 1513, and every Pope since then has been chosen from among the cardinals. Those who do not want to be considered for the position can let their preferences be known in advance. The office is a lifetime appointment and Pope Benedict XVI was the first pope to resign since 1415.

The process of the papal conclave is unbiblical. Since the office of the Pope is unbiblical, the Roman Catholic idea and procedure of choosing a new Pope are likewise unbiblical. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. The Holy Spirit is the true “Vicar of Christ,” who is the one who speaks in our hearts and carries out our desires (John 14:16-18; 16:13).

Leave a Comment