Can a Eastern Catholic cardinal become Pope?

Is this possible? If yes, would we have a Pope celebrating only in the Byzantine Rite? Would he wear a Eastern style white cassock?

Yes, it is possible. And the pope can always celebrate in all the rites.


Yes, and he could wear whatever he wants.

Deacon Christopher


As Pope, he would be the bishop of Rome and so head of the Latin rite. I would expect that part of his identity would mean celebrating the Latin rite with some frequency.

But if his background is Maronite or Melkite, I would expect that might influence the liturgies he leads as well.


True, but wouldn’t he become the Latin Rite Bishop of Rome, and undergo at least a de facto change of rite? In other words, Rome wouldn’t become a Byzantine eparchy, just because its new bishop had originally been Byzantine (or Maronite, or Melkite, or what have you).

And that being the case, wouldn’t he celebrate the Roman Rite and wear Western vestments and clericals? Being the Pope, of course he could celebrate in any rite he wished, and wear the clericals of his choosing.

A similar scenario surrounded Archbishop Nicholas Elko, whom I knew personally:

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Ah, the great Latinizer. :grin: He’s not the most popular bishop we ever had.

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I didn’t know all of that, though it struck me as a bit bizarre that he would be a Byzantine bishop, then would become a Latin Rite bishop. When we visited the Blue Army Shrine in New Jersey (1982), he was the celebrant and he needed to take off his miter for some reason, turned to my mother, and said, “here, hold this for a minute”. She wasn’t expecting that. Funny little anecdote.


I think it was +Yosyf Slipy that reportedly came close to being elected after his release from the Gulag.

And the novel Shoes of the Fisherman features a protagonist clearly based on him being elected and convening a council enacting many of the reforms that actually happed at Vatican II–even though the book was written before this, and published in 1963!

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Babochka, be nice. He’s already gone “before the judgement-seat of Christ” (Divine Liturgy) so we have to pray for the repose of his soul.

Vichnaya jemu pamyat.

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Now if he only had been elected… :heart:

AFAIK, any male Catholic can be elected pope. St. John Paul’s apostolic constitution on papal elections seems to assume the one elected is a cardinal, but perhaps I am inferring too much; it does not assume that the pope-elect is a bishop, and stipulates rules to be followed in case he is not a bishop.

The pope can dress however he chooses: St. John Paul gave up some centuries-old traditional attire, some of which were taken up again by Pope Benedict.

Instead they chose another man who was not Roman Catholic at the next election . . .

Who was that?

Giovanni Battista Montin, the Archbishop of Milan, was thus of Ambrosian rite when elected, and became John XXIII.

Distinct rite, but still part of the Latin Church.


He was Paul VI, not John XXIII.

Additionally, in 1958, according to reports, the patriarch of the Armenian rite was one of the leading papabile:

Someday, I’ll stop crossing those two.

But don’t hold your breath . . .:crazy_face::rofl::exploding_head:

There was a movie about this possibility that coincided with the release of Cardinal Slipj from the Soviet gulag. It was called “In the Shoues of the Fisherman.”

Yes, I was just going to mention that, too:

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