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Posted May 7, 2003

Book: Selecting the Pope: Uncovering the Mysteries of Papal Elections
Author: Greg Tobin
Foreward by Monsignor Robert J. Wister
Barnes and Noble Books, New York, pp. 200


Excerpt from the Jacket:

Award-winning author Greg Tobin offers a compelling guide t what is sure to be one of the most important and headline-making events in modern history the election of the next pope. Selecting the Pope examines each rule of this secretive process and explores the rich history behind the conclave and the key issues that will shape the future of the Catholic Church.

You'll discover:

Why the election always concludes with the rising of white smoke

What powers the cardinals hold during the vacancy of the Holy See

Pope John Paul II's startling changes to the centuries-old election process

A day-by-day account of the balloting inside the Sistine Chapel

How the electors should behave during the conclave even to their "dress code"

A look at the first list of probable successors to John Paul II

Excerpt from the Book:

Scholars and journalists have long since either weighed in with their predictions or their reluctance to predict the unpredictable. Some strongly feel that the next pope will be an Italian, that John Paul's long reign has been an aberration not to be repeated any time soon. Others expect that the mold, now broken, will not be repaired, that a "foreign" pope is all but inevitable, given the overwhelming successes of the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years. Rank and file Catholics, too, seem to want to continue the trend toward globalization, a theological-ecclesiastical buzzword that means, most simply, the inclusion of the seventy-five to eighty percent of the world that is neither affluent nor of European origin. As the previous statistics indicate, not only is the college of cardinals larger, more diverse, and less Euro-centric than ever before, but the most explosive growth in Catholicism in Asia, Africa, and Latin America is reflected to a greater degree than ever before.

As the list of eligible electors and non-eligible cardinals illustrates, the internationalizing trend begun by Pius XII has continued apace through the ponificates of his four successors. John Paul II, in fact, has named more cardinals in more consistories than any pope in history: 201 cardinals, eight consistories. It is a far more international body than ever, but also a super conservative one, because Pope John Paul has elevated men of deep orthodoxy, both curial cardinals and residential ordinaries. Yet it is extremely unlikely that those men will attempt to elect a carbon copy of the current Holy Father. For one thing, this would be nearly impossible a man like Karol Wojtyla is an extreme rarity, a true worldwide historical figure who was the right man at the right time, chosen by his fellow-cardinals, yet seemingly predestined or anointed from above.

Table of Contents:

Part I: History and development of papal elections
The Petrine ministry
Primacy and succession
Scriptural sources: the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles
The early church of Rome: A.D. 64-476
Eight turbulent centuries: 476-1274
The origin of the conclave: 1274-1303
Exile and schism, reformation and revolution: 1303-1800
The Holy Father: 1800-1903
Modern popes and the papacy: 1903-2003


Part II: The rules of the papal election
The apostolic constitution: Universi Dominici Gregis
The vacancy of the Apostolic See
The death of the pope
The powers of the college of cardinals during Sede Vacante
The government of the church during the vacancy
The congregations of the cardinals in preparation for the election
Funeral rites of the Roman Pontiff


Part III: The rules of the papal election
The election of the Roman Pontiff
The electors: Who they are, rights and responsibilities
The conclave and who may be admitted
The election begins
The observances of secrecy regarding the election
The election procedure
"Matters to be observed or avoided" in the election process
Acceptance and proclamation of the new pope


Part IV: Challenges awaiting the next pope
The church enters its third millennium
Crisis in the American Church
The question of collegiality
Gender, globalization and ecumenism
Who will it be?


Glossary
Sources and recommended reading
Appendix A: The chronology of popes
Appendix B: Timeline of the history of papal elections
Appendix C: The Sacred College of Cardinals
Appendix D: Universi Dominici Gregis