Local priest explains pope selection process

SELINSGROVE – Now that the 115 Cardinals have set Tuesday as the start date for the conclave to elect the next pope, many around the world will be watching the process. Father Dan Powell explains what the selection entails.


Powell said, “They have to get to a point where there is a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes in this case, for one particular person. On the first day, they have one ballot and then, up to four ballots each day after that, until the pope is elected.” He said Benedict was elected in about 24 hours, which was quick, whereas John Paul II took eight rounds of voting over three days.


He also talked about the tradition of smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel. Powell said, “When an election is held, on each ballot, if the ballot does not produce a two-thirds majority, then grey or black smoke comes out of the smoke stack. If a pontiff is elected, then white smoke comes out.”


Powell believes the world will be watching. He says the non-Catholics are interested in how the whole process works. For Catholics, he said it’s a great tradition in the church of trying to find someone they believe the Lord wants to run the church.


Tuesday will begin with a Mass in the morning and will be followed by the first balloting in the afternoon. (Ali Stevens)




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