And On to the Twenty-first Century

  • Frederic J. Baumgartner


The anticipation and enthusiasm that had marked the conclave of August 1978 were little in evidence as the cardinals rushed back to Rome following John Paul I’s sudden death. The cardinals were somber as they began meeting in the general congregations. The return to health of an absent cardinal offset the dead pope, so the cardinals who participated were again 111. The issue of the health of the papabili was far more at the forefront than in prior elections; the cardinals did not want to choose again someone who would die soon after his election. The quick end of John Paul I’s papacy meant that the College would be inclined to seek the same sort of pope—a pastoral bishop who was not part of the curia—but a more vigorous one.


General Congregation Winning Margin Papal Election Prior Election Dead Pope 
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  1. 1.
    Quoted in M. Hebblethwaite, The Next Pope (New York, 2000), p. 70.Google Scholar

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© Frederic J. Baumgartner 2003

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  • Frederic J. Baumgartner

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