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February 11, 2013


Inside the Papal Election

Although Pope Benedict XVI's resignation is the first in 600 years, the election of the next Pope remains generally the same, Dylan Matthews reports.

"But, as with normal papal successions, it will prompt the vote of the College of Cardinals, a group of up to 120 church leaders (current estimates put the number around 118) below the age limit of 80 who convene to elect new popes. Exactly how that process works, however, changes frequently, and indeed has changed since the election that elevated Benedict in 2005."

However, research into papal elections is a sensitive subject because, the next Pope's selection is "attributed to the will of God, a force not amenable to any empirical test that is in our power to conduct."

The Week has eight possible contenders for the job.












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