How Is the Pope "Elected?"
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The New Pope
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The new Pope, also known as Pontifex Maximus or the Holy Roman Pontiff represents one the world’s greatest positions of leadership. The cardinals pledge their allegiance to the new Pope and he is dressed in the pontifical vestments, a white soutane, i.e. priest robe, and skull cap. This all occurs in the "Room of Tears," because tradition says it was quite common for the new Pope to break down and cry in jubilant emotion over his election.

The Dean of the College of Cardinals asks the newly elected Pope if he accepts election and what papal name he wishes to be called. Since 533 A.D., popes have selected papal names after Pope John II adopted his papal name because he felt that his original name, Mercurius, was inappropriate, as it was also the name of a Roman god. Pope Benedict XVI’s birth name is Joseph Ratzinger. The pope prior to Pope Benedict XVI was Pope John Paul II, perhaps the most famous pope in the last millennia. Pope John Paul II’s birth name was Karol Wojtyla.

Upon tradition in the election of the new Pope, the Proto-Deacon of the College of Cardinals steps onto Vatican’s main balcony and declares to Rome and the world the following:

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus Papam. Eminentissimus et Reverendissimus Dominus, Dominus _____ Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalis Qui sibi accipit nomen ____.

I announce to you a great joy. We have a Pope. The most eminent and reverend Lord, the Lord ____ (Cardinal’s name) Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church who takes to himself the name ____ (Pope’s chosen name).

The newly elected Pope then appears on the Balcony and delivers his first address to Rome and the world with his Apostolic Blessing. Finally, the Pope can ask the cardinals to remain in the conclave for one last evening.

A few days after the election, the Pope holds his first Papal Mass at St. Peter’s. During the procession, the following words are said to the Pope: Pater sancte, sic transit Gloria mundi ("Holy Father, thus passes the glory of the world.") This is meant to remind the Pope that he remains a mortal who will die and conduct his affairs for the Church.

Finally, we'll conclude with a few main thoughts.