Monday, April 04, 2005

Papal vocabulary

The events around the Pope's death have brought up some Catholic terms that are not usually heard. Here's a few:

Camerlengo: or chamberlain is the Cardinal who administers the Vatican's property and finances until the election of a new pope. He is a Spanish cardinal, Eduardo Martinez Somalo. The camerlengo officially calls the Pope's name to ascertain he has died, and takes care of ceremonial details like smashing the Pope's ring.

Conclave: The meeting of the cardinals to elect the new pope. Literally this means "with key," and refers to the fact that the cardinals are locked away from the world while they meet to elect the new pope. This practice seems to have started in the 13th century, when a Pope hadn't been elected for over 3 years. The people of Rome ran out of patience and locked in the cardinals without food until they elected a new pope (which then happened in about a day.)

Casa Santa Marta: The residence where the cardinals will stay during the election. All communication with the outside world is cut off. Any cardinal who violates the secrecy required by the conclave could be excommunicated.

Interregnum: the time period starting from when the Pope dies until a new Pope is elected.

Papabile: A term referring to a cardinal who has some prospect of being elected Pope. (This Italian word literally means "pope-able."

Universi Dominici Gregis: A document of Pope John Paul II, issued in 1996, specifying some new rules and procedures concerning the election of a Pope. The major changes are that the Pope specified that only a scrutiny (secret ballot) is used in a papal election. He eliminated two other methods that were technically allowed previously but not generally used: acclamation--in which the cardinals would spontaneously "acclaim" someone Pope by unanimous agreement, and delegation, in which the cardinals would select a small group (not over nine cardinals) to reach the decision. Also, if an election goes on for 12 days or 30 ballots, a simple majority is sufficient to elect. Ordinarily a two-thirds majority is required.


Anonymous said...

And don't forget crosier which one distinguished newspaper called a "crow's ear".

seraphim/seattle said...

do you by any chance have any information on the formal music that will be used this week? specifically, what there the songs used today during the procession of the Pope's body? much of it was a single voice, chanting in Latin, followed by a male chorus. one piece in particular, the single voice would ask for the prayers from a specific saint, and the chorus would say in Latin 'pray for him'.

any info appreciated. thank you.

)( seraphim/seattle

Anonymous said...

Great information!Thank you Sisters!