While we’re on the subject of popes, here’s our front page from October 17, 1978. Pope John Paul II had been elected the previous day.
1978 was a Year of Three Popes; John Paul II’s predecessor, John Paul I, was pope for only 33 days.
Here’s more front-page coverage of past popes, going back to the election of Pius X in 1903.
White smoke, new pope!
The Vatican has signaled that a decision has been made on a new pope, following deliberations by the Vatican conclave. The new pope will follow the now-Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who announced his surprise resignation earlier this year.
Photos: Gregorio Borgia, Andrew Medichini / Associated Press, Filippo Monteforte / AFP/Getty Images
With this plume of black smoke emerging from the Sistine Chapel, it’s official - there will be no new Pope today. Voting will resume tomorrow, as the church works to replace Pope Emeritus Benedict.
To be named the church’s 266th pontiff, a candidate will have to win the support of at least two-thirds of the cardinals, meaning 77 votes. With a larger field of papabili, or potential popes, than in the most recent conclaves, the first vote was not widely expected to yield a decision.
Photo: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
Conclave ceremony begins at the Vatican
The process to select a new pope officially began this morning, as 115 Roman Catholic cardinals celebrated Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, and upon finishing the service, are to stride into the Sistine Chapel to begin deliberations.
The decision could take a day, a week or even longer - there’s no deadline to picking the next pope. But once a candidate gains the support of two-thirds of the vote, white smoke will be seen above the chapel, signalling that Pope Emeritus Benedict’s successor has been chosen.
Photos: Franco Origlia / Getty Images, Osservatore Romano / AFP/Getty Images, Gregorio Borgia / Associated Press
The pope has left the building
Outgoing Pope Benedict XVI has departed the Vatican and will spend the final hours of his papacy at a summer retreat, soon leaving the Catholic church without a figurehead while the church tries to sort out who his successor will be.
Pope Benedict will now be known as the “Pope Emeritus,” becoming the first living ex-post in hundreds of years.
From the scene in Italy:
The courtyard at the Vatican was lined with clapping well-wishers, church officials and the plume-hatted Swiss Guards, the pope’s protectors, as Benedict left the papal apartment for the last time. On the Vatican’s helipad, he raised his arms in farewell, still wearing his white papal vestments, and the chopper lifted off into blue skies. The bells of St. Peter’s Basilica pealed during the departure.
Photos: Alberto Pizzoli / AFP/Getty Images, Guido Montani / EPA, Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press
The new “Pope Emeritus”
What do you call a pope who’s no longer a pope? Following Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden announcement that he would be resigning from the papacy, the Vatican was faced with a decision: What title should be assigned to the outgoing pope?
Pope Benedict XVIwill bear the title “pope emeritus” or “Roman pontiff emeritus.”
The outgoing pope will also continue to be addressed as “His Holiness” and will keep the name Benedict XVI rather than return to being called Joseph Ratzinger.
He will still be robed in white, a simple cassock with no adornments.
It certainly works better than The Artist Formerly Known as Pope. Read more on the Vatican’s decision here.
Too many popes: Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden announcement this week that he would be stepping down from the papacy, the first pope to do so in hundreds of years, puts the Vatican in a bizarre quandary:
One day soon, perhaps on a fine morning this spring, a new pope strolling through the Vatican’s beautifully tended gardens may run into something that few, if any, of his predecessors ever encountered: another pope.
Vatican chastises nuns for questioning church: The Vatican has ordered an overhaul of the most important group of nuns in the United States after an investigation found what Roman Catholic Church officials called "radical feminist themes" that questioned official positions on homosexuality and the ordination of women.
Photo credit: Gregorio Borgia / Associated Press