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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [1]

A name which comes from the Greek word and signifies Father. In the East, this appellation is given to all Christian priests; and in the West, bishops were called by it in ancient times; but now for many centuries it has been appropriated to the bishop of Rome, whom the Roman Catholics look upon as the common father of all Christians. All in communion with the see of Rome unanimously hold that our Saviour Jesus Christ constituted St. Peter the apostle chief pastor under himself, to watch over his whole flock here on earth, and to preserve the unity of it, giving him the power requisite for these ends. They also believe that out Saviour ordained that St. Peter should have successors, with the like charge and power to the end of time. Now, as St. Peter resided at Rome for many years, and suffered martyrdom there, they consider the bishops of Rome as his successors in the dignity and office of the universal pastor of the whole Catholic church. The cardinals have for several ages been the sole electors of the pope. These are seventy in number, when the sacred college, as it is called, is complete. Of these, six are cardinal bishops of the six suburbicarian churches; fifty are cardinal priests, who have all titles from parish churches in Rome; and fourteen are cardinal deacons, who have their titles from churches in Rome of less note, called diaconias, or deaconries. These cardinals are created by the pope when there happen to be vacancies, and sometimes he names one or two only at a time; but commonly he defers the promotion until there be ten or twelve vacancies, or more; and then at every second such promotion, the emperor, the kings of Spain and France, and of Britain, when Catholic, are allowed to present one each, to be made cardinal, whom the pope always admits, if there be not some very great objection.

These cardinals are commonly promoted from among such clergyman as have borne offices in the Roman court; some are assumed from religious orders; eminent ecclesiastics of other countries are likewise often honoured with this dignity. Sons of sovereign princes have frequently been members of the sacred college. Their distinctive dress is scarlet, to signify that they ought to be ready to shed their blood for the faith and church, when the defense and honour of either require it. They wear a scarlet cap and hat: the cap is given to them by the pope if they are at Rome, and is sent to them if they are absent; but the hat is never given but by the pope's own hand. These cardinals form the pope's standing council, or consistory, for the management of the public affairs of church and state. They are divided into different congregations for the more easy despatch of business; and some of them have the principal offices in the pontiffical court; as that of cardinal, vicar, penitentiary, chancellor, chamberlain, prefect of the signature of justice, prefect of memorials, and secretary of state. They have the title given them of eminence and most eminent. On the demise of a pope his pontifical seal is immediately broken by the chamberlain, and all public business is interrupted that can be delayed; messengers are despatched to all the Catholic sovereigns to acquaint them of the event, that they may take what measures they think proper: and that the cardinals, in their dominions, if any there be, may hasten to the future election, if they choose to attend; whilst the whole attention of the sacred college is turned to the preservation of tranquillity in the city and state, and to the necessary preparations for the future election.

The cardinal chamberlain has during the vacancy of the holy see, great authority; he coins money with his own arms on it, lodges in the pope's apartments, and is attended by the body guards. He, and the first cardinal bishop, the first cardinal priest, and the first cardinal deacon, have, during that time, the government almost entirely in their hands. The body of the deceased pope is carried to St. Peter's, where funeral service is performed for him with great pomp for nine days, and the cardinals attend them every morning. In the mean time, all necessary preparations for the election are made; and the place where they assemble for that purpose, which is called the Conclave, is fitted up in that part of the Vatican palace, which is nearest to St. Peter's church, as this has long been thought the most convenient situation. Here are formed, by partitions of wood, a number of cells, or chambers, equal to the number of cardinals, with a small distance between every two, and a broad gallery before them. A number is put on every cell, and small papers, with corresponding numbers, are put into a box; every cardinal, or some one for him, draws out one of these papers, which determines in what cell he is to lodge. The cells are lined with cloth; and there is a part of each one separated for the conclavists, or attendants, of whom two are allowed to each cardinal, and three to cardinal princes. They are persons of some rank, and generally of great confidence; but they must carry in their master's meals, serve him at table, and perform all the offices of a menial servant.

Two physicians, two surgeons, and apothecary, and some other necessary officers, are chosen for the conclave by the cardinals. On the tenth day after the pope's death, the cardinals who are then at Rome, and in a competent state of health, meet in the chapel of St. Peter's, which is called the Gregorian chapel, where a sermon on the choice of a pope is preached to them, and mass is said for invoking the grace of the Holy Ghost. Then the cardinals proceed to the conclave in procession, two by two, and take up their abode. When all is properly settled, the conclave is shut up, having boxed wheels, or places of communication, in convenient quarters; there are, also, strong guards placed all around. When any foreign cardinal arrives after the inclosure, the conclave is opened for his admission. In the beginning every cardinal signs a paper, containing an obligation, that, if he shall be raised to the papal chair, he will not alienate any part of the pontifical dominion; that he will not be prodigal to his relations; and any other such stipulations as may have been settled in former times, or framed for that occasion. We now come to the election itself; and that this may be effectual, two-thirds of the cardinals present must vote for the same person. As this is often not easily obtained, they sometimes remain whole months in the conclave. They meet in the chapel twice every day for giving their votes; and the election may be effectuated by scrutiny, accession, or acclamation. Scrutiny is the ordinary method, and consists in this: every cardinal writes his own name on the inner part of a piece of paper, and this is folded up and sealed; on the second fold of the same paper, a conclavist writes the name of the person for whom his master votes.

This, according to agreements observed for some centuries, must be one of the sacred college. On the other side of the paper is written a sentence at random, which the voter must well remember. Every cardinal, on entering into the chapel, goes to the altar, and puts his paper into a large chalice. When all are convened, two cardinals number the votes; and if there be more or less than the number of cardinals present, the voting must be repeated. When this is not the case, the cardinal appointed for the purpose, reads the outer sentence, and the name of the cardinal under it; so that each voter, hearing his own sentence, and the name joined with it, knows that there is no mistake. The names of all the cardinals that are voted for are taken down in writing, with the number of votes for each; and when it appears that any one has two-thirds of the number present in his favour, the election is over; but when this does not happen, the voting papers are all immediately burnt, without opening up the inner part. When several trials of coming to a conclusion by this method of scrutiny have been made in vain, recourse is sometimes had to what is called accession. By it, when a cardinal perceives that when one or very few votes are wanting to any one for whom he has not voted at that time, he must say that he accedes to the one who has near the number of votes requisite; and if his one vote suffices to make up the two-thirds, or if he is followed by a sufficient number of aceeders, or new voters, for the said cardinal, the election is accomplished.

Lastly, a pope is sometimes elected by acclamation; and that is, when a cardinal being pretty sure that he will be joined by a number sufficient, reads out in the open chapel, that such a one shall be pope. If he is properly supported, the election becomes unanimous; those who would, perhaps, oppose it, foreseeing that their opposition would be fruitless, and rather hurtful to themselves. When a pope is chosen in any of the three above-mentioned ways, the election is immediately announced from the balcony in the front of St. Peter's, homage is paid to the new pontiff, and couriers are sent off with the news to all parts of Christendom. The pope appoints a day for his coronation at St. Peter's, and for his taking possession of the patriarchal church of St. John Lateran; all which is performed with great solemnity. He is addressed by the expression of holiness, and most holy father. The Roman Catholics believe that the bishop of Rome is, under Christ, supreme pastor of the whole church, and as such is not only the first bishop in order and dignity, but has also a power and jurisdiction over all Christians, in order to preserve unity and purity of faith and moral doctrine, and to maintain order and regularity in all churches.

See Supremacy Some Catholic divines are of opinion that the pope cannot err when he addresses himself to all the faithful on matters of doctrine. They well know that, as a private doctor, he may fall into mistakes as well as any other man; but they think that, when he teaches the whole church, Providence must preserve him from error. We have, however, already examined this sentiment under the article Infallibility to which the reader may refer. The see of Rome, according to Roman Catholics, is the centre of Catholic unity. All their bishops communicate with the pope, and by his means with one another, and so form one body. However distant their churches may be, they all meet at Rome either in person or by their delegates, or at least by their letters. And, according to the discipline of the latter ages, though they are presented to the pope for their office from their respective countries, yet from him they must receive their bulls of consecration before they can take possession of their sees.

See Popery

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(1): ( n.) The bishop of Rome, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. See Note under Cardinal.

(2): ( n.) Any ecclesiastic, esp. a bishop.

(3): ( n.) A parish priest, or a chaplain, of the Greek Church.

(4): ( n.) A fish; the ruff.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [3]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Pope'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/p/pope.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [4]

E . Papa), a title originally given to all bishops of the Church, and eventually appropriated by Leo the Great, the bishop of Rome, as the supreme pontiff in 449, a claim which in 1054 created the Great Schism, and which asserted itself territorially as well as spiritually, till now at length the Pope has been compelled to resign all territorial power. The present Pope, Pius X., is the successor of 258 who occupied before him the Chair of St. Peter.