There is perhaps no greater "election" in the world than that of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Election is italicized because the Pope is not elected in the traditional sense of the term. Instead, each new Pope is elected through prayer and a final secret ballot consisting of about 120 cardinals in a conclave in Rome. What happens in the conclave is closed-off to the world and still open to speculation and mystery. However, many of the procedures have been revealed over the last two millennia.
In this article, we’ll uncover who chose the first Pope, go over the procedure when a Pope dies, explore what likely occurs in the conclave and secret balloting for the new Pope, see who can become Pope, and show what occurs with the election of the new Pope.
Next, we’ll explore how the first Pope was chosen.