Tag Archives: pope

Saint Sylvester

St SylvesterOn this final day of the civil year Mother Church honors the memory of Pope Saint Sylvester, who guided the Church with his teaching and life during the persecutions of Diocletian, and during the period of Arianism and the Council of Nicæa. That his feast day is so close to Christmas ought to indicate to us that he had concern for the Christology of Catholic belief and life.

Pope Sylvester’s pontifical ministry saw the construction of great churches in Rome by Constantine, namely the basilica and baptistery of the Lateran near the former imperial Lateran palace where the pope lived (he now resides at the Vatican), the basilica of the Sessorian palace (the Basilica of Santa Croce where the relics of the holy passion are located), the first Church of St. Peter on Vatican Hill, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs.

More to the point for this blog, and the desire to live in a theology of communion, the sainted Pope contributed to the development of the sacred Liturgy of the Roman Church and drew together the first martyrology of Roman martyrs. Moreover, Sylvester established of the Roman school of chant and music.

Pope Saint Sylvester is buried at the Church connected with the Catacomb of Priscilla.

Popes who belonged to religious orders

Pope Gregory XVI made gambling on papal electi...

Pope Gregory XVI, a Benedictine monk, made gambling on papal elections punishable by excommunication.

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th Roman Pontiff he was listed among a rather small and elite group of men who had their intellectual and spiritual formation in religious life. Bergoglio is a member of the Society of Jesus. But who are the others?

The Benedictine monks have 17
Gregory I, Boniface IV, Adeodatus II, Leo IV, John IX, Leo VII, Stephen IX, Gregory VII, Victor, III, Urban II, Paschal II, Gelasius, II, Celestine V, Clement VI, Urban V, Pius VII, Gregory XVI
The Augustine canons and friars have 6
Honorius II, Innocent II, Lucius II, Adrian IV, Gregory VIII, Eugene IV
The Franciscans friars have 4
Nicholas IV, Sixtus IV, Sixtus V, Clement XIV
Secular Franciscans have 2
Pius IX, Leo XIII
The Dominicans friars have 4
Innocent V, Benedict XI, Pius V, Benedict XIII
The Cistercian monks have 2
Eugene III, Benedict XII
The Theatine clerks regular have 
Paul IV
The Jesuit clerks regular have 1
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Cardinals take oath

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After a brief introduction and prayer in the Pauline Chapel, the cardinals walking in order of seniority beginning from the junior cardinal deacon to the cardinal bishops, walked to the Sistine Chapel. Once in their assigned places in the Sistine Chapel, the senior Cardinal, Giovanni Battista Re, read aloud the following formula of the oath prescribed by the apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis:

In conformity with the provisions of No. 52 of the Apostolic constitution Univesi Dominici Gregis, We, the Cardinal electors present in this election of the Supreme Pontiff promise, pledge and swear, as individuals and as a group, to observe faithfully and scrupulously the prescriptions contained in the Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Universi Dominici Gregis, published on 22 February 1996. We likewise promise, pledge and swear that whichever of us by divine disposition is elected Roman Pontiff will commit himself faithfully to carrying out the munus Petrinum of Pastor of the Universal Church and will not fail to affirm and defend strenuously the spiritual and temporal rights and the liberty of the Holy See. In a particular way, we promise and swear to observe with the greatest fidelity and with all persons, clerical or lay, secrecy regarding everything that in any way relates to the election of the Roman Pontiff and regarding what occurs in the place of the election, directly or indirectly related to the results of the voting; we promise and swear not to break this secret in any way, either during or after the election of the new Pontiff, unless explicit authorization is granted by the same Pontiff; and never to lend support or favor to any interference, opposition or any other form of intervention, whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree or any group of people or individuals might wish to intervene in the election of the Roman Pontiff.”

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Then, one-by-one, each of the Cardinal electors, according to seniority, then personally took the oath according to the following formula:

“And I, N. Cardinal N., do so promise, pledge and swear. So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my hand.”

After all not required to be in the Conclave are asked to depart, Prospero Cardinal Grech, OSA, (a non-electing cardinal) will give a meditation.

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New pope elected … for the Coptic Orthodox Church

boy and acting pope.jpegThe electors, nearly 2,406 people, in the Coptic Orthodox Church selected the 118th successor to Saint Mark, Tawadros II. The new pope is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa. Until now, Tawadros has been an auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop Pachomius who’s been serving as the acting pope. Tawadros studied pharmaceutical sciences and was ordained a bishop in 1997. 

Bishop Tawadros received 1623 votes, or about 25% of the votes.
Each of the electors, asking God to provide for them a good shepherd, were blindfold in casting their ballot for three of five previously vetted candidates. The three names were placed in a ceremonial box, then the Divine Liturgy was celebrated before a blindfolded child selected one of the three names to be the next pope. The new pope succeeds Pope Shenounda III who died at the age of 88 in March, after serving since 1971.
Pope Tawadros II, 60, will be installed on November 18.

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Christians in Egypt number about 10% of the 83 million population. The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian Church in Egypt.
So far, the key Muslim groups have offered their hands in friendship upon Pope Tawadros announcement.
Vatican Radio has an informative piece to read and to listen.

Oriental Orthodox Churches face elections

Christ in Coptic Art.jpgThe Coptic and Ethiopic Churches face the elections of new popes in the coming  weeks. Pope Shenouda III died in March 2012 after serving as pope of his Church for 40 years. Yesterday, the patriarch of the Ethiopic Church Abune Paulos died at the age of 76. Shenouda had health issues and Paolus apparently died of a heart attack (there’s some controversy on the reason for the death).

The Coptics are preparing to elect the 118th successor of Saint Mark. The list of 17 possible choices is being scrutinized now; the more than 2500 electors have been gleaned from the clergy and laity alike.
The New Jersey eparchy (diocese) for the Coptic Orthodox has introductory material to read. The US doesn’t have a large group of Coptic Orthodox in comparison to the Greek Orthodox Church or Catholicism –let alone the Coptic Catholics, for that matter– but the Church is growing. Worldwide there are 18 million adherents. In the Tri-State area there are some 19 communities of the Coptic Orthodox faithful. For example, the Copts purchased the former Benedictine abbey of Corpus Christi in Texas for a monastery of their own.
Catholics have a keen interest in the Coptic Church because of the role she has played in the forming Catholic faith across the many centuries.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church will also have to elect a new leader, the 6th patriarch, with the death of Abune Paulos yesterday. He served as head of his Church since 1992.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Church established themselves as separate from the Coptic Church in 1959 and claims 45 million faithful.
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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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