Saturday, March 09, 2013


It is a normal healthy reaction. Now we know that the Conclave will commence its deliberation on Tuesday the 12th of March - Tuesday of next week - we begin to wonder how long it will be before we have a Pope.

No one can tell at this stage, though some blocs of the Cardinal Electors might have an inkling. But we can't look to them for any comment. But we can look at the Conclaves of the recent past to see how they proceeded in the hope that they might provide us with some sort of a guide.

Let us go back to the beginning of the last Century and examine the record.We list below the name of the Pope elected followed by the number of days the Conclave lasted/ the number of ballots held/ the number of Cardinal Electors:

1903  Pope Saint Pius X   3 days/  7 Ballots/   62 Cardinal Electors

1914  Pope Benedict XV   4 days/10 Ballots/  57 Cardinal Electors

1922  Pope Pius XI            5 days/14 Ballots/  53 Cardinal Electors

1939  Pope Pius XII           2 days/  3 Ballots/  63 Cardinal Electors

1958  Pope John XXIII      4 days/11 Ballots/  51 Cardinal Electors

1963  Pope Paul VI             3 days/  6 Ballots/  80 Cardinal Electors

1978  Pope John Paul I      2 days/  4 Ballots/111 Cardinal Electors

1978  Pope John Paul II     3 days/  8 Ballots/111 Cardinal Electors

2005  Pope Benedict XVI    2 days/  4 Ballots/115 Cardinal Electors

2013  Pope       ?                   ? days/  ? Ballots/117 Cardinal Electors

So, there you are -  some "potted" history. Despite the increasing numbers of Cardinal Electors, they have tended to give us some of the shortest Conclaves and the least numbers of ballots.

We pray for the guidance of the Cardinal Electors by the Holy Spirit. 

It is interesting to note that the Conclave begins on the Anniversary of the Enthronement of Pope Pius XII  74 years ago in 1939, and on the Feast Of Pope Saint Gregory the Great in the old Calendar. 

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