Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Acclamation (in Papal Elections)

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 1
Acclamation (in Papal Elections)

by William Henry Windsor Fanning


One of the forms of papal election. The method of electing the Roman Pontiff is contained in the constitutions of Gregory XV, "Æterni Patris Filius" and "Decet Romanum Pontificem." Urban VIII's constitution, "Ad Romani Pontificis Providentiam", is confirmatory of the preceding. According to these documents, three methods of election alone are valid; namely, by scrutiny, by compromise, and by acclamation, or "quasi-inspiration." This last form of election consists in all the cardinals present unanimously proclaiming one of the candidates Supreme Pontiff, without the formality of casting votes. As this must be done without previous consultation or negotiation it is looked on as proceeding from the Holy Ghost and hence is also designated "quasi-inspiration". An example of this mode of election in more recent times is found in the case of Clement X (1670-76), formerly Cardinal Altieri, whose election is said to have been determined by the sudden cry of the people outside the conclave, "Altieri Papa", which was confirmed by the cardinals (Keller). Innocent XI (1676-89) is another example. The cardinals surrounded him in the chapel of the conclave and in spite of his resistance every one of them kissed his hand, proclaiming him Pope (De Montor).

FERRARIS, Bibliotheca, art. Papa (Rome, 1890); WERNZ, Jus Decret. (Rome, 1899), II, tit. 30; DE MONTOR, Lives of Rom. Pont. (News York, 1866); KELLER, Life of Leo XIII (News York, 1888); LECTOR, Le Conclave (Paris, 1898).

WILLIAM H.W. FANNING