Becoming a Pope

The procedure following the death of the Pope was revised by the Vatican in February 1996. The new document (Universi Dominici Gregis, "The shepherd of the Lords whole flock") replaces the previous instruction of 1975 from Pope Paul VI.

Also in Pope Benedict XVI

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When a Pope Dies

Details of the procedures following the death of a Pope

The Electors

Since 1059, the election of the Pope has been reserved to the cardinals alone and this is their principal function this is the first thing said about them in the Church's Code of Canon Law.

College of Cardinals

What can the college of Cardinals do during the vacancy of the Apostolic See?

The Conclave

What is "the Conclave" and what happens at one?

The Election

What is the process of electing a new Pope?

The Ballots

The voting process to elect a new Pope.

Resolving Deadlock

What happens upon a deadlock vote?

Observance of Secrecy

Details about the level of secrecy Cardinals maintain during Conclave.

The New Pope

Announcing the new Pope.