Good Question

Mar 13, 2013 7:37 PM by John Reger

GQ: How does the voting for a new Pope work?

Pope Francis was chosen today in secret by Cardinals cut off from the outside world once the conclave started. That prompted this question: How does the voting for Pope work in the Sistine Chapel? Good Question.

Each of the 115 voting Cardinals writes a name on paper in a disguised handwriting, folds the paper twice, carries it to the front altar and drops it into a big chalice. If someone needs help walking, 3 pre-selected Cardinals help out.

Then three other pre-selected Cardinals called scrutineers take over. One shakes the chalice to mix the ballots, another counts the ballots, and the third writes down each name after reading it aloud. There can be four rounds of voting a day and a Cardinal can vote for himself.

When someone gets 77 votes, or two-thirds, the winner is asked if he accepts the job. If he says yes, he's the new Pope. All that's left is to pick his own papal name.

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