Does the church have a designated survivor?

During a conclave, is any cardinal assigned to sit it out in case a bomb wipes out the college of cardinals?

If not, in such a situation, how would the next pope be elected?

This was the plot of Angels and Demons. Not a good movie. But if the movie is any indication, one local priest would be responsible for the bombing, and he’s the one who would become pope because he would also be responsible for saving the day by stopping the bomb just in time, leading to his own selection.

If all the cardinals died in real life, I imagine the power of electing a new pontiff would go to all the clergy of Rome, the way it was before the college of cardinals was given that responsibility.

Interesting question.

Secret plans don’t work IF YA TELL EVERYONE! :slight_smile:

As long as there is one valid bishop in the world the church can continue.

Touché. Touché.

Is a bishop necessary or could a priest suffice, being essentially promoted to bishop by being the only priest left? Granted I don’t think it’ll apply during our lifetimes, but I thought it’d be at least one priest.

It would need to be a bishop as only a bishop can ordain another bishop. There are roughly 5000 Catholic bishops. Add to that Orthodox, Polish National Catholic, Old Catholic and some smaller splinter groups and it would be virtually impossible to have all the bishops die at the same time by any series of events short of Jesus’ return. In that case though, it wouldn’t matter:D.


Bishop is necessary.

If all bishops of the world were wiped out, the Church will collapse. It can survive for as long as priests remain alive, but apostolic succession would eventually end.

Yeah pretty much. It would take something unprecedented to wipe out the entire Catholic Episcopate. And even if they were completely wiped out in some sort of freak disaster/attack at Vatican III or what have you, presumably there are still the Eastern Catholic Bishops. And even if THEY were somehow wiped out as well, if I’m not mistaken the Eastern Orthodox bishops, whom the Catholic Church also sees as valid, would be able to assist in picking up the pieces.

When Jesus says “not even the gates of hell will prevail against my Church”, I figure He has it all worked out. :cool:


Not necessarily that they’re “designated survivors”, but do Cardinals above the voting age go into the Sistine Chapel with their voting brothers or are they left out during the votes?

Doesn’t really answer my question. Yes I know the Cardinal Electors go into the Sistine… but what of the other Cardinals above the voting age? Do they go in as observers or anything like that or are they left out?

As I understand the voting process, 80 years old is the upper limit for voting. I don’t know if those over that age are present for the vote

As I understand the voting process, from that link, 80 years old, is the upper limit for voting age for a Cardinal. In extension, I don’t know if those over that age are or are not present as observers for the vote.

Yes it does. His name is Jesus.

I think that’s it!

The gates of hell will not prevail.

I’m pretty sure they don’t. They participate in various sessions with their brother cardinals leaving up to the Conclave, but I don’t believe they enter the chapel. Of course there will typically be elderly cardinals outside of Rome who don’t travel to Rome for health reasons or whatnot.

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