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The Papacy Did you know the Pope is not referred to by only one title He is also referred to as such titles as the bishop of Rome Vicar of Christ supreme pontiff of the universal church primate of Italy patriarch of the West sovereign of the State of Vatican City and servant of the servants of God The Pope is believed to be the successor of Saint Peter The Pope being the supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church holds the position of the papacy The Papacy is an official position of the Church which presently is held by Pope John Paul II The election of a Pope is a very special process A new Pope can only be elected when the previous has passed When the previous Pope dies the Cardinal Camerlango must verify the death of the pontiff The Cardinal calls the Popes name three times and without response from the Pope he is pronounced dead He must then authorize a death certificate and make the event public The event is made public by notifying the Cardinal Vicar for the Diocese of Rome He then would arrange for the papal seal to be broken After this he must prepare for the Papal funeral and the nine days of mourning which follow After fifteen to twenty days of sermons the Cardinal Electors enter the Conclave to choose which Cardinal will be the next Pope The Cardinals first must take an oath when entering the Conclave The oath states that they will follow the rules given by the Pope and will be secret about the voting and deliberations The penalty for breaking the oath given in the Conclave is immediate and automatic excommunication The Cardinals are seated around the walls of the Sistine Chapel then they are given a ballot of paper After they have placed a name on their ballot they proceed to turn the ballots in one by
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