Papal conclave, August 1978
Papal conclaveof August 1978, the first of the two conclaves held in the year 1978, was convoked after the death of Pope Paul VIon August 6at Castel Gandolfo. After the cardinal electors assembled in Rome, the conclave to elect Paul's successor began on August 25and ended the next day, on 26 August, after four ballots. The cardinals elected Albino Cardinal Luciani, then Patriarch of Venice, as the new pope. He accepted the election and took the pontifical name of "John Paul I".
The conclave was held from
August 25to August 26, at the Sistine Chapelin the Vatican. Proceedings on August 25 included a Mass celebrated at St. Peter's Basilicaby the cardinal electors for divine guidance in their task to elect Pope Paul's successor. Six hours later, the cardinals processed into the Sistine Chapel whilst the chapel choir sang the hymn " Veni Creator Spiritus". Archbishop Virgilio Noè, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, gave the traditional command of "Extra omnes" ("Everybody out!"), the doors were locked, and then the actual conclave began.
Papabili and Course of balloting
Because the conclave took place during the summer and no windows were permitted to be open in the chapel, the heat was almost unbearable. It was so hot even outside the conclave that the American
John Cardinal Codytook three showers in one night to cool himself. Up to this point in time, the conclave of August 1978 was the largest ever assembled. Thus, to accommodate the electors, the traditional canopied thrones were replaced with twelve long tables. Karol Cardinal Wojtyła, Aloísio Cardinal Lorscheider, and Bernardin Cardinal Gantinallegedly served as scrutineers during the balloting.
The cardinals electors were looking not for a Curial bureaucrat, but rather a warm, pastoral figure along the lines of
Pope John XXIII. They also wanted an Italian, given the influential papal role in Italian politics. Among the "papabili", or likely candidates to be elected pope, were Giuseppe Cardinal Siri of Genoa, Corrado Cardinal Ursi of Naples, and Giovanni Cardinal Benelliof Florence. However, Cardinal Benelli actually favoured Albino Cardinal Luciani of Venice, who was eventually elected as a candidate of compromise after four ballots; during the third ballot, Johannes Cardinal Willebrands and António Cardinal Ribeiro, who sat on either side of the Venetian patriarch, whispered words of encouragement to him as he continued to receive more votes. After Jean-Marie Villotofficially asked Luciani whether he accepted his election, he humbly exclaimed, "May God forgive you for what you have done," before accepting. In honor of his two immediate predecessors, he took "John Paul I" as his regnal name.
At 6:24 p.m., the first signs of smoke—whose colour signifies the success or failure of an election—from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel appeared. However, it was unclear which colour the smoke was for over an hour; some of the cardinals had personally deposited their notes and tally sheets in the stove, causing black smoke after white had already appeared. Pericle Cardinal Felici, as the ranking Cardinal Deacon, then stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica and delivered the "
Habemus Papam" announcement in Latin, declaring Luciani's election. John Paul then too appeared on the balcony; shortly after his withdrawal, the crowd's applause remained so loud that he was compelled to appear again.
This conclave was unusual in the fact that the future Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were also present. This made it the first conclave since 1721 in which three future popes participated, and the first since 1829 in which there had been more than one.
Eligibility to vote and alleged results
Several authors have provided what they claim to be the vote totals at the conclave. Although this evidence must be viewed as questionable, it cannot be dismissed out of hand. Details of a conclave cannot be revealed by those involved under pain of
excommunication, but this was the first conclave which excluded cardinals over the age of 80 (their ineligibility having been decreed by Paul VI in 1970). Cardinals over 80 are still allowed to participate in the preparatory meetings, but during the 1978 conclaves, they were not required to take the same oath of secrecy as the electors. It is possible that one of these elderly cardinals may have revealed things they learned, though after the preparatory meetings were over the superannuated cardinals never entered the conclave itself. Also, cardinals under 80 were not required to destroy all notes they took during the conclave.
Under the rules introduced for the 2005 conclave, cardinals over 80 are required to take the same oath of secrecy if they want to participate in the preparatory meetings. All cardinal electors are required to surrender any notes they may have taken in order to be burned along with ballots.
As presented by
David Yallopin "In God's Name" (ISBN 0-553-05073-7), a book which claims that John Paul I was murdered:
* First Ballot: Siri 25, Luciani 23, Pignedoli 18, Lorscheider 12, Baggio 9, scattered 24.
* Second Ballot: Siri 35, Luciani 30, Pignedoli 15, Lorscheider 12, scattered 19.
* Third Ballot: Luciani 68, Siri 15, Pignedoli 10, scattered 18.
* Fourth Ballot: Luciani 99, Siri 11, Lorscheider 1 (cast by Luciani).
As presented by Francis A. Burkle-Young in "PASSING THE KEYS" (ISBN 1-56833-130-4):
* First Ballot: Siri 25, Luciani 23, Pignedoli 18, Baggio 9, König 8, Bertoli 5, Pironio 4, Felici 2, Lorscheider 2, and 15 others one each.
* Second Ballot: Luciani 53, Siri 24, Pignedoli 15, Lorscheider, Baggio, Cordeiro, Wojtyła 4 each, Felici 3.
* Third Ballot: Luciani 92, Pignedoli 17, Lorscheider 2.
* Fourth Ballot: Luciani 102, Lorscheider 1 (cast by Luciani), "Nemini" (no one) 8.
As presented by
Gordon Thomasand Max Morgan-Wittsin "PONTIFF" (ISBN 0-451-12951-2):
* First Ballot: same as Burkle-Young's count except 5 votes for Pironio, fourteen candidates with 1.
* Second Ballot: Luciani 46, Pignedoli 19, Lorscheider 14, Baggio 11, Bertoli 4, others unspecified.
* Third Ballot: Luciani 66, Pignedoli 21, Lorscheider 1 (cast by Aramburu), others unspecified.
* Fourth Ballot: Luciani 96, Pignedoli 10, Lorscheider 1 (cast by Aramburu).
Cardinals over 80 in 1978 Papal conclaves
This is a list of
Roman Catholiccardinals over the age of 80 as of the death of Pope Paul VIon August 6, 1978. As such, they were ineligible to vote in the Papal conclave beginning August 25to elect Paul's successor, according to the motu proprio" Ingravescentem aetatem", of November 21, 1970and the apostolic constitution" Romano Pontifici Eligendo" of October 1, 1975.
Pope John Paul Idied after only thirty-three days in office without creating any cardinals, and "none" of the cardinals who were eligible to vote turned eighty between John Paul I's election and the beginning of the second conclave on October 14that elected Pope John Paul II, the lists of over-age cardinals for the two 1978 conclaves are identical.
The cardinals ineligible to participate in the two 1978 conclaves because they were at least eighty years old are listed below, arranged by date of promotion to the cardinalate.
Cardinals elevated by
Pope Pius XII
February 18, 1946
** Carlos Carmelo Vasconcellos Motta, archbishop of Aparecida
Josef Frings, former archbishop of Cologne
Antonio Caggiano, former archbishop of Buenos Aires
January 12, 1953
** James Francis McIntyre, former archbishop of Los Angeles
** Alfredo Ottaviani, prefect emeritus of the
S.C. for the Doctrine of the Faith
Cardinals elevated by
Pope John XXIII
December 15, 1958
** Carlo Confalonieri,
bishop of Ostiaand Palestrina, archpriest of the Liberian basilica, and Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals
** Antonio María Barbieri, O.F.M., Cap. former archbishop of Montevideo
** Alberto di Jorio
December 14, 1959
** Paolo Marella, bishop of the title of the suburbicarian see of Porto e Santa Rufina, archpriest of the Vatican basilica, sub-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals
Cardinals elevated by
Pope Paul VI
February 22, 1965
** Jozef Slipyj, archbishop major of Lviv of the Ukraines (note that many historians believe Slipyj was elevated "
in pectore" in the consistory of March 28, 1960, but that would have expired when John XXIII died in 1963)
** Lawrence Joseph Shehan, former archbishop of Baltimore
June 26, 1967
** Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle, former archbishop of Washington
** Pietro Parente
April 28, 1969
** Miguel Darío Miranda y Gómez, former archbishop of Mexico City
March 5, 1973
** Ferdinando Giuseppe Antonelli, O.F.M
Cardinal electors in Papal conclaves, August and October 1978
* [http://www.papaluciani.com/eng/conclave.htm The Conclave: August 25th - 26th 1978]
* [http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/update/conclave/how_to.htm How a Pope is Elected]
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,912133-1,00.html A Swift, Stunning Choice]
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