(CNN Spanish) — In the Vatican, full legislative, judicial and executive authority rests with the Pope. And for centuries, leaders of the Roman Catholic Church have been elected in private meetings known as conclaves.
Technically, any Roman Catholic person can be elected Pope. But since 1379, every pope has been elected from the College of Cardinals, the group that votes in conclave.
Several cardinals are bishops and archbishops appointed by the Pope to help in religious matters. Some work in the Vatican, but most are spread around the world and run by a diocese or archdiocese.
When it comes time to vote for a new pope, all cardinals under the age of 80 travel to Rome to participate.
Inside the Sistine Chapel, paper ballots are handed out to each cardinal, who writes the name of his chosen candidate below the words “Eligo in summun pontificum” (Latin for “I choose as high pontiff”). Cardinals cannot vote for themselves.
When they have finished, each cardinal, in order of seniority, proceeds to an altar to ceremoniously place his folded ballot into a chalice. The votes are then counted and the results are read to the cardinals.
If a cardinal gets two-thirds of the vote, he becomes the new pontiff.
revelation of a new pope
We can’t enter the Sistine Chapel, but we’ll know if there’s a new pope or not just by looking at the smoke billowing from the Vatican ceiling.
Ballot papers are burned once in the morning and once in the afternoon after voting. If the Pope is not elected, the ballots will be burned with a chemical that turns the smoke black.
However, if the smoke is white, the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new church leader.
Traditionally, after 30 to 60 minutes of white smoke, the new pope would appear on a balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica. Peter Square. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tournon, if he himself is not elected pope, will announce the words “Habemus papam” (Latin for “We Have a Pope”) and introduce the new pope with his chosen papal name.
The new Pope will then speak briefly and offer a prayer. Your formal appointment will take place a few days after your election. The last two popes have been inaugurated in St. Peter’s Cathedral.
How many popes were there in the Catholic Church?
The first pope was Saint Peter, who, according to Aci Prensa, received supreme Pontifical Power from Jesus, who established the first ecclesiastical order and the prayer of the Our Father. And by the end of 2022, there will be 266 popes in the Vatican, with Pope Francis being the last chosen to fill the position.
Below you can see the names of the first and last popes in history:
- San Pedro (Simon Bar Zona)
- San Lino, Tuscany (67-76)
- Saint Anacletus (Cletus), Rome (76-88)
- San Clemente I (88-97)
- St. Evaristo, Greece (97-105)
- Saint Alexander I, Rome (105-115)
- San Sixto I, Roma (115-125)
- Saint Telesphorus, Greece (125-136)
- San Iginio, Greece (136-140)
- Saint Pius I, Aquileia (140-155)
- Saint Pius X (1903–1914)
- Benedict XV (1914–1922)
- Pius XI (1922- 1939)
- Pius XII (1939–1958)
- John XXIII (1959–1963)
- Paul VI (1963–1978)
- John Paul I (1978)
- John Paul II (Poland) (1978–2005)
- Benedict XVI (Germany) (2005–2013)
- Francisco (Argentina) (2013–present)
Check out the full list at ACI Press.