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Papabile ( // , also UK: /-/ , Italian: [paˈpaːbile] ; pl.papabili; lit. '"pop(e)able"' or "able to be pope" ) is an unofficial Italian term first coined by Vaticanologists and now used internationally in many languages to describe a Roman Catholic man, in practice always a cardinal, who is thought a likely or possible candidate to be elected pope. In Italy the term has become very common and people use it for other analogous situations, too.
In some cases the cardinals will choose a papabile candidate. Among the papabili cardinals who have been elected pope are Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII), Giovanni Battista Montini (Paul VI), and Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). However, at times the College of Cardinals elects a man who was not considered papabile by most Vatican watchers. In recent years those who were elected pope though not considered papabile include John XXIII, John Paul I, John Paul II and Francis. There is a saying among Vaticanologists: "He who enters the conclave as pope, leaves it as a cardinal." This is a popular proverb in Italy as well, indicating one should never be too sure of oneself.
The list of papabili changes as cardinals age. For instance, Carlo Maria Martini was thought to be papabile until he retired from his see upon reaching 75 years of age.
The term papabile is at least as old as the 15th century, since it is found in the Catholicon Anglicum .
In Italian, the word papabile is also used in non-Church contexts referring to short list candidates, i.e. those who, among the available candidates, are most likely to get elected or appointed to a specific position.
Being seen as papabile, however, is no guarantee of election, and is sometimes seen as a handicap. (Although the following candidates were widely discussed as candidates publicly, the actual vote results described below are frequently based on rumours and sourced, if at all, from off-the-record reports of individual cardinals.)
The following cardinals, as noted in the cited references, were also considered papabili at the 2013 conclave, which elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who took the name Francis.
Edward Pentin, a prominent Vaticanologist as the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register , released a book in August 2020 entitled The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates, listing 19 Cardinals considered papabili for a future conclave after Pope Francis. One of the 19, Wilfrid Napier, turned 80 in 2021 and thus will not be part of a future conclave. Several others are due to reach the age of 80 in the next couple of years. The nineteen listed, and their current ages, are;
|Italy||Angelo Bagnasco||(age 78)||Also papabile in 2013. If elected, would be the oldest pope since Clement XII in 1730|
|United States||Raymond Leo Burke||(age 73)|
|Czech Republic||Dominik Duka||(age 78)||If elected, would be the oldest pope since Clement XII in 1730|
|Netherlands||Willem Eijk||(age 68)|
|Hungary||Péter Erdő||(age 69)||Also papabile in 2013.|
|Germany||Gerhard Ludwig Müller||(age 73)|
|South Africa||Wilfrid Napier||(age 80)|
|United States||Sean Patrick O'Malley||(age 77)||Also papabile in 2013.|
|Canada||Marc Ouellet||(age 77)||Also papabile in 2013.|
|Italy||Pietro Parolin||(age 66)|
|Italy||Mauro Piacenza||(age 76)|
|Sri Lanka||Malcolm Ranjith||(age 73)|
|Italy||Gianfranco Ravasi||(age 78)||Also papabile in 2013. If elected, would be the oldest pope since Clement XII in 1730|
|Guinea||Robert Sarah||(age 76)|
|Austria||Christoph Schönborn||(age 76)||Also papabile in 2013.|
|Italy||Angelo Scola||(age 79)||Also papabile in 2013. If elected, would be the oldest pope since Clement XII in 1730|
|Philippines||Luis Antonio Tagle||(age 64)||Also papabile in 2013.|
|Ghana||Peter Turkson||(age 72)||Also papabile in 2013.|
|Italy||Matteo Zuppi||(age 65)|
Pope John Paul I predicted Cardinal Wojtyła – the future John Paul II – would succeed him, and Cardinal Jean-Marie Villot predicted in May 1978 that only Wojtyła could gain the support of two-thirds of the cardinal electors, but was not widely considered papabile because he was not Italian.
Pope Paul VI was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his death in 1978. Succeeding John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council, which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements.
Pope Pius VIII, born Francesco Saverio Maria Felice Castiglioni, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 31 March 1829 to his death in 1830.
Giuseppe Siri was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Genoa from 1946 to 1987, and was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 1953 by Pope Pius XII. He was a protege of Pope Pius XII. He was considered a likely candidate to succeed Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul I.
A papal conclave is a gathering of the College of Cardinals convened to elect a bishop of Rome, also known as the pope. The pope is considered by Catholics to be the apostolic successor of Saint Peter and earthly head of the Catholic Church.
Ennio Antonelli is an Italian cardinal of the Catholic Church and retired President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
The 2005 papal conclave was convened to elect a new pope following the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April 2005. After his death, the cardinals of the Catholic Church who were in Rome met and set a date for the beginning of the conclave to elect his successor. Of the 117 eligible members of the College of Cardinals, those younger than 80 years of age at the time of the death of Pope John Paul II, all but two attended. After several days of private meetings attended by both cardinal electors and non-voting cardinals, the conclave began on 18 April 2005. It ended the following day after four ballots with the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. After accepting his election, he took the pontifical name of Benedict XVI.
Geraldo Majella Agnelo is a Brazilian Roman Catholic Cardinal. He is Archbishop Emeritus of São Salvador da Bahia and Primate Emeritus of Brazil.
The October 1978 papal conclave was triggered by the death of Pope John Paul I on 28 September just 33 days after his election on 26 August. The conclave to elect John Paul I's successor began on 14 October and ended two days later on 16 October, after eight ballots. The cardinal electors selected Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła, Archbishop of Kraków, as the new pope. Resulting in the most recent Year of Three Popes, he accepted his election and took the pontifical name of John Paul II.
The 1963 papal conclave was convoked following the death of Pope John XXIII on 3 June that year in the Apostolic Palace. After the cardinal electors assembled in Rome, the conclave to elect John's successor began on 19 June and ended two days later, on 21 June, after six ballots. The cardinals elected Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan. He accepted the election and took the name Paul VI.
The 1830–31 papal conclave, was held commencing 14 December 1830 after the death of Pope Pius VIII. It did not conclude until the 2 February 1831 election of Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari as Pope Gregory XVI.
Rafael Merry del Val y Zulueta, was a Spanish Roman Catholic cardinal.
Alfredo Ottaviani was an Italian cardinal of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII named him cardinal in 1953. He served as secretary of the Holy Office in the Roman Curia from 1959 to 1966 when that dicastery was reorganised as the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, of which he was pro-prefect until 1968.
Habemus papam is the announcement traditionally given by the protodeacon of the College of Cardinals or by the senior cardinal deacon participating in the papal conclave, in Latin, upon the election of a new pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
The 1823 papal conclave was convoked following the death of Pope Pius VII on 20 August 1823. The conclave began on 2 September and ended 26 days later with the election of Cardinal Annibale Sermattei della Genga who became Pope Leo XII.
Jus exclusivae was the right claimed by several Catholic monarchs of Europe to veto a candidate for the papacy. Although never formally recognized by the Catholic Church, the French monarch, the Spanish monarch, and the Holy Roman Emperor claimed this right at various times, making known to a papal conclave, through a crown-cardinal, that the monarch deemed a particular candidate for the papacy objectionable.
Eugène-Gabriel-Gervais-Laurent Tisserant was a French prelate and cardinal of the Catholic Church. Elevated to the cardinalate in 1936, Tisserant was a prominent and long-time member of the Roman Curia.
Aloísio Leo Arlindo Lorscheider, O.F.M. was a prominent cardinal of the Catholic Church in Brazil during the 1970s and 1980s. He was renowned as an advocate of communism and liberation theology in the 1970s and was seen by some observers as a serious candidate for the papacy in the two conclaves of 1978.
Gambling on papal elections has at least a 500-year history. Betting on 16th-century papal conclaves are among the first documented examples of gambling on election outcomes. During the same period, gambling was also common on the outcomes of secular Italian elections, such as that of the Doge of Venice.
The 2013 papal conclave was convened to elect a pope to succeed Pope Benedict XVI following his resignation on 28 February 2013. After the 115 participating cardinal-electors gathered, they set 12 March 2013 as the beginning of the conclave. On the fifth ballot, the conclave elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He took the pontifical name of Francis.
In the course of his papacy, Benedict XVI issued two documents altering certain details of the procedures for electing a pope: De electione romani pontificis on 11 June 2007 and Normas nonnullas on 22 February 2013. These instructions amended the extensive set of rules and procedures issued on 22 February 1996 by his predecessor John Paul II in his apostolic constitution Universi Dominici gregis.
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