How does the Vatican elect a new pope? 7 things to know about a conclave

What, exactly, is a conclave? And how does it work? Here are 7 key points to understanding how the Vatican prepares to elect a pope.

6. How is the new pope presented to the world?

The senior deacon of the College of Cardinals, a body that represents all cardinals in the Catholic Church, asks the chosen cardinal if he accepts the decision to become pope. While those chosen are, in theory, free to decline, it doesn’t really happen at this stage in the process because any potential pope elect who doesn’t want the office will state that before he has been given a sufficient number of votes to become pope. Once the chosen answers yes, the senior deacon then steps out onto the balcony of the Vatican and shouts in Latin: "Habemus Papam" ("We have a pope!"). The new pope chooses the name by which he wishes to be called, pulls on his new robes and steps on to the balcony himself. He then gives his first blessing, watched on television by millions of people around the world and huge crowds in Saint Peter’s Square.

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