February 27th, 2013
11:32 AM ET

Smoke signals: How is a new pope elected?

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) - With Pope Benedict XVI leaving the papal office after resigning two weeks ago, the Catholic Church will have to rush to pick his replacement before Easter.

Normally, the College of Cardinals is not allowed to select a new pontiff until 15 to 20 days after the office becomes vacant - usually when the previous pope has died.

Benedict's resignation is a rare exception. The last man to quit the head of the Catholic Church did so 600 years ago.

The situation calls for some rule bending, and having the current pope involved is proving advantageous.

He has slightly amended the 500-year-old policy on pope selection to get a successor into place more rapidly.

The cardinals may to be able to pull it off before March 15, according to Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. EX catholic

    Smoke is a signal that something is burning, and if it is burning is because is Combustible.

    March 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  2. AvdBerg

    The Spiritual Truth


    Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14).

    March 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  3. AvdBerg

    Please do not pay attention to the postings of the members of the gay community, whose goal it is to control this blog and spew their hatred.


    March 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

      AvdBerg is a troll on this blog, they are only trying to sell their book and website both of which are full of lies to support their cult.

      Click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      Plus this thief is stealing advertising dollars!

      March 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  4. AvdBerg

    Spiritual Truth


    Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14).

    March 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  5. Kai po che full song

    wow! many thanks for that amazing short article. I actually liked it towards main. Hope you retain submitting this sort of astonishing reports Kai po che full song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIlMhcNHzy

    February 28, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  6. bankrupt1

    Bush granted the Pope immunity . what was he thinking there? geez...the whole concept...

    February 28, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  7. End Religion

    The next pope is chosen from those candidates who give the best tug job.

    February 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  8. Mohammad A. Dead

    Smoke signals are old fashioned and waste of time, musical chairs are faster, and less discriminatory.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  9. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill would not is not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well and don't want to violate their beliefs.

    Recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    On sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    February 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Doobs


      February 27, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!:

      February 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  11. By


    February 27, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  12. Hahahahahahahah

    Sucking order. Just like in the corporate world. Hahahahahahahahaha

    February 27, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  13. Doobs

    They all light up their crack pipes and bring in the altar boys.

    February 27, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  14. Correctlycenter

    " The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He gave the sea boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.

    Let everyone in the world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of Him. For when He spoke, the world began! It appeared at His command.

    The LORD shatters the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the LORD's plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken.

    What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD, whose people He has chosen for His own." Psalm 33:6-12...

    February 27, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Really?

      "What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD"

      If you do you will end up with a country full of greed, gluttony, selfishness, intolerance, and destroyers of the planet.

      February 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Doobs

      What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD, whose people He has chosen for His own."

      Unless you piss him off, then you're dead meat. He's a touchy mofo.

      February 27, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.