A New Pope Has Been Chosen

A new pope has been chosen on just the second day of the conclave. His name has not yet been announced. If precedent is any indication, we should know within hours.

A New Pope Has Been Chosen (WaPo)

White smoke from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney and the pealing of bells Tuesday signaled that the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church have elected a new pope to succeed Pope John Paul II. Thousands watched in St. Peter’s Square and millions more waited around the world to hear the announcement of the new pontiff’s identity. The election of the new pope came on only the second day of voting by cardinals in a secret conclave. Under the rules, the 115 voting cardinals chose the 265th pope with a two-thirds majority, or at least 77 voting in favor. The balloting followed a day of stately ritual.

One potential candidate, the influential Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, delivered a hard-hitting sermon at a pre-conclave Mass attended by the cardinals. A close associate of John Paul and the dean of the College of Cardinals, Ratzinger launched a passionate defense of strict orthodoxy. “To have a clear faith according to the church’s creed is today often labeled fundamentalism,” he told the cardinals and the congregation packed into St. Peter’s Basilica. “While relativism, letting ourselves be carried away by any wind of doctrine, appears as the only appropriate attitude for the today’s times. A dictatorship of relativism is established that recognizes nothing definite and leaves only one’s own ego and one’s own desires as the final measure.”

New pope selected by cardinals (BBC)

White smoke has been seen from the Sistine Chapel chimney indicating that a new pope has been elected. The bells of St Peter’s Basilica rang out shortly after 1800 local time (1600 GMT) to confirm the news. There were jubilant scenes in St Peter’s Square where many thousands of pilgrims had gathered.

The new pontiff was chosen on the fourth ballot held by the 115 cardinals meeting to select a successor to Pope John Paul II. There is no word on the new pope’s identity or what name he will choose, which the Vatican has indicated will be announced 45 minutes after his election.

The new leader of 1.1 billion Roman Catholics worldwide will soon appear on the balcony of the Vatican palace to greet the public and give his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing to the city of Rome and the world.

Interesting. One presumes this means that one of the early favorites, likely Ratzinger or Francis Arinze, has been chosen. It would be unlikely that a lesser-known candidate would achieve two-thirds consensus so quickly.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kenny says:

    Aren’t life’s little coinciding incidents interesting. The new pope, right above a bad actress charged with threatened animal molestation.

  2. Scott_T says:

    It’s Ratzinger, via Radio

  3. mike says:

    Damn, lost again. Next time I am hiring Rove