Anyone Able to Be Elected Pope?


#1

My wife & I help facilitate the RCIA program in our parish. Last year, the leader of the program was discussing the electoral process for the papacy, and he mentioned that “one does not have to be a Cardinal to be elected Pope,” but that a Cardinal is almost always elected Pope. He also explained that any man basically could be elected, but that obivously, the conclave usually ended with a Cardinal elected.

I seem to remember either Jimmy or Karl stating on one of the open line programs on Catholic Answers that one must be a bishop to be elected/appointed Bishop of Rome, thus the Pope. Do I need to correct the leader if he says this again or am I splitting hairs here?

Thank you!


#2

Can. 332 ß1 The Roman Pontiff acquires full and supreme power in the Church when, together with episcopal consecration, he has been lawfully elected and has accepted the election. Accordingly, if he already has the episcopal character, he receives this power from the moment he accepts election to the supreme pontificate. If he does not have the episcopal character, he is immediately to be ordained Bishop.

Here is Jimmy Akin’s take on the question:
jimmyakin.org/2005/04/who_can_be_pope.html


#3

Any male Catholic can be elected Pope. If he isn’t a bishop, he is consecrated as one immediately after he accepts election. He isn’t pope until he’s a bishop, he’s pope the instant he is a bishop.


#4

Any male Catholic who is eligible to be ordained. Also, he needs to accept the office.

CARose


#5

[quote=CARose]Any male Catholic who is eligible to be ordained. Also, he needs to accept the office.

CARose
[/quote]

Can you cite a source for the underlined? I’m not attempting to be contradictory. My info. says that even married men may be elected. I’m curious.


#6

marraige is not an impediment to ordination by its nature, it is an impediment because of long standing western custom and related canon law.


#7

Thanks to all!


#8

A married man who was previously divorced without an annulment would not be eligible to be ordained. I don’t believe he could be elected as Pope.

CARose


#9

[quote=learninginfbg]My wife & I help facilitate the RCIA program in our parish. Last year, the leader of the program was discussing the electoral process for the papacy, and he mentioned that “one does not have to be a Cardinal to be elected Pope,” but that a Cardinal is almost always elected Pope. He also explained that any man basically could be elected, but that obivously, the conclave usually ended with a Cardinal elected.

I seem to remember either Jimmy or Karl stating on one of the open line programs on Catholic Answers that one must be a bishop to be elected/appointed Bishop of Rome, thus the Pope. Do I need to correct the leader if he says this again or am I splitting hairs here?

Thank you!
[/quote]

Traditionally I believe that any male could be elected. It is correct that one cannot be pope without being a Bishop. So if a lay person was elected they would need to be Ordained a Bishop before being pope.


#10

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Can you cite a source for the underlined? I’m not attempting to be contradictory. My info. says that even married men may be elected. I’m curious.
[/quote]

Nothing bars a Married Man from being Ordained (only Church law, which can be dispensed) only an Ordained man from being Married. (And then the Pope and only the Pope can also allow that)


#11

[quote=CARose]A married man who was previously divorced without an annulment would not be eligible to be ordained. I don’t believe he could be elected as Pope.

CARose
[/quote]

? Nothing would prevent him from being Ordained


#12

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Nothing bars a Married Man from being Ordained (only Church law, which can be dispensed) only an Ordained man from being Married. (And then the Pope and only the Pope can also allow that)
[/quote]

That should read only Western custom not Church law.


#13

You’re suggesting that a man in a marriage that is not and cannot be blessed (previous marriage not annulled) could even so, be ordained?

CARose


#14

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Nothing bars a Married Man from being Ordained (only Church law, which can be dispensed) only an Ordained man from being Married. (And then the Pope and only the Pope can also allow that)
[/quote]

During the period following the death/resignation of a Pope, the committee of Cardinals which runs the day-to-day affairs of the Church is not permitted to make any changes in policy. It is certainly not permitted to change canon law. Thus in practice, the Cardinals can only elect as Pope someone who is eligible under canon law to be ordained a bishop. i.e. inter alia, an unmarried baptised and confirmed male of at least 30 years of age, who is prepared to take a vow of celibacy.


#15

[quote=Petergee]During the period following the death/resignation of a Pope, the committee of Cardinals which runs the day-to-day affairs of the Church is not permitted to make any changes in policy. It is certainly not permitted to change canon law. Thus in practice, the Cardinals can only elect as Pope someone who is eligible under canon law to be ordained a bishop. i.e. inter alia, an unmarried baptised and confirmed male of at least 30 years of age, who is prepared to take a vow of celibacy.
[/quote]

Can anyone comment on the age limit thing? I understood younger men could (and have) been elected.


#16

Hey everyone!

Like, doesn’t a person have to be ordained priest in order to be ordained bishop?

Also, and I know this isn’t by any means an “authoratative” source, but it is recent and pretty good for all it’s topics:

Should a layman be elected (as in the case of Benedict IX), he would first have to be ordained a deacon, then a priest, and then a bishop before he could function as pope, because the authority resides in his office as bishop of Rome. Should a priest be chosen, he would need to be ordained a bishop prior to being installed as pope.

  • Catholicism for Dummies, Trigilio and Brighenti p. 24

That’s the only thing I’ve read about the issue, other than the discussion here.


#17

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Nothing bars a Married Man from being Ordained (only Church law, which can be dispensed) only an Ordained man from being Married. (And then the Pope and only the Pope can also allow that)
[/quote]

Actually, while nothing bars a married man from being ordained, he is bared from the episcopate.

Also, if an eligible man was elected, and he accepted, to the papacy, he would need to be ordained a deacon, then priest, then bishop. It is my understanding that you can not skip steps.


#18

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Can anyone comment on the age limit thing? I understood younger men could (and have) been elected.
[/quote]

They have been as this age limit is another matter of Church Discipline.


#19

[quote=learninginfbg]My wife & I help facilitate the RCIA program in our parish. Last year, the leader of the program was discussing the electoral process for the papacy, and he mentioned that “one does not have to be a Cardinal to be elected Pope,” but that a Cardinal is almost always elected Pope. He also explained that any man basically could be elected, but that obivously, the conclave usually ended with a Cardinal elected.

I seem to remember either Jimmy or Karl stating on one of the open line programs on Catholic Answers that one must be a bishop to be elected/appointed Bishop of Rome, thus the Pope. Do I need to correct the leader if he says this again or am I splitting hairs here?

Thank you!
[/quote]

Hi,

I believe that if a layman were to be elected Supreme Pontiff, that he would automatically become Bishop of Rome (that is one of the Pope’s titles).

It is true though, that any baptized male Catholic may become the Pope (just very, very unlikely).

There hasn’t been a layman elected to the See of Peter since Pope Urban VI in 1378.


#20

[quote=Petergee]During the period following the death/resignation of a Pope, the committee of Cardinals which runs the day-to-day affairs of the Church is not permitted to make any changes in policy. It is certainly not permitted to change canon law. Thus in practice, the Cardinals can only elect as Pope someone who is eligible under canon law to be ordained a bishop. i.e. inter alia, an unmarried baptised and confirmed male of at least 30 years of age, who is prepared to take a vow of celibacy.
[/quote]

If something is already allowed (a dispensation is allowed under Canon Law) then certainly I think a dispensation could be granted if the proper Vatican Congregation is still open.

But if the Pope must approve the dispensation, then you might be right. However, perhaps the fact that the Cardinals elected an individual would be viewed as the Dispensation, as Canon Law, from what I understand, is very rarely absolute.

For example, a person dying can be absolved from excommunication whether or not there is a reigning Pope.

God bless,

Peter


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