A Papal Conclave

All eyes will be on Rome tomorrow as the 75th papal conclave begins. Papal conclaves have been conducted to elect popes after it took two years, nine months, and two days to elect a successor to Pope Clement IV in the thirteenth century. To avoid a repeat of that nonsense, Pope Clement IV’s successor, Pope Gregory X, decreed that all future papal elections would take place with the voting cardinals locked in a room until they came to a decision. Cum clave (conclave) is Latin for “with a key.” And so began the papal conclaves that, for the most part, have been used to elect new popes ever since.

I think posting a photo of St. Peter’s Basilica (aka Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano) is appropriate, given the occasion. By the time I wake up tomorrow, the 115 cardinals will be getting ready to process into the Sistine Chapel. The first puffs of smoke should follow a few hours later. The conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 took less than 24 hours.

St. Peter's Basilica

2 responses to “A Papal Conclave”

  1. Franciska Kouwenhoven says :

    What a great photograph! Where did you take it? Rome, obviously… but from a hotel room? Museum? Lover’s apartment?

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