How to Elect a New Pope


Today, in his last Angelus address, Pope Benedict XVI spoke this message to the Church:

“Dear brothers and sisters…The Lord is calling me to ‘climb the mountain,’ to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and works of charity.”

Pope Benedict, who will step down on Feb 28, will first stay at Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of the pope, and then go back to the Vatican to live in Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.


Since this is the first time in 600 years that a Pope has abdicated the Chair of St. Peter, many Catholics have questions about how the process works.

If you have questions, I recommend visiting the new website: Electing the Pope. It is a great resource to learn more about the papal conclave and to better understand our rich Catholic tradition.
Also, check out this interactive graphic which gives a step-by-step explanation of how the pope is elected.
Rebecca Teti, in her Catholic Digest post, God bless the Pope! said: “Benedict XVI has constantly been teaching us both the importance of prayer—its relevance to real life—and how to pray. How beautiful and fitting that his final public act is to retire to a life of prayer—almost as if to say, “See? I really believe what I say.” It’s a comfort to know this deeply Christian man will be praying for us.”
Let us join the Church in praying for Pope Benedict and also pray in a special way for the Cardinals who prepare to elect our next Holy Father:

“O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of your Church, we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI and the selfless care with which he has led us as Successor of Peter and your Vicar on earth. Good Shepherd, who founded your Church on the rock of Peter’s faith and have never left your flock untended, look with love upon us now, and sustain your Church in faith, hope and charity. Grant, Lord Jesus, in your boundless love for us, a new pope for your Church who will please you by his holiness and lead us faithfully to you, who are the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen.” —Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore

The Pope’s official retirement takes effect at 2pm (est) Feb. 28.

Update: Read Pope Benedict’s concluding remarks and watch a video of his final papal benediction.




  1. Nilda-834707 February 26, 2013 Reply

    Thanks, Robyn. Much needed article for all catholics and non-catholics. There are many weird rumors in the secular media about the Pope’s resignation. I will continue to pray for the Holy Father and for the upcoming Pontiff as well. Nilda

  2. Alice-788574 February 26, 2013 Reply

    And here’s a bit on one’s chances for papal election. Don’t miss the Mony Python reference!

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