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Pope Francis Drafting New Document to Reform the Papal Conclave

The Daily Knight


REMNANT EXCLUSIVE | VATICAN CITY, November 4, 2023 — The Remnant has learned that a Vatican document is currently under review by Pope Francis that would reform the papal conclave to exclude cardinals over the age of eighty from its preparatory phase, radically reshape the General Congregations, and potentially revolutionize who elects the Pope by having laity and women religious comprise twenty-five percent of the vote.


Well-informed Vatican sources have confirmed to the Remnant that a series of meetings have been held at Santa Marta since late spring between Pope Francis and Italian Jesuit canonist Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, with one specific goal: to reform Pope John Paul II’s 1996 apostolic constitution on the vacancy of the Apostolic See and election of the Roman Pontiff, Universi Dominici Gregis.


Since the end of August, these meetings have become more frequent and were held on a weekly basis until the start of the Synod assembly in early October.

Professing to “return to the early Church”, the idea would be to have cardinal-electors, the majority of whom Pope Francis has chosen, comprise seventy-five percent of the vote, while the remaining twenty-five percent would be made up of laymen and women and religious sisters, papally appointed by Pope Francis in advance of the Apostolic See becoming vacant.

The document under review would exclude from the General Congregations preceding the beginning of a papal election all non-voting cardinals, that is, all cardinals who have reached the age of eighty. Many contend that the Pope is made in the General Congregations, as it is in this preparatory phase that the problems facing the Church, and the qualities needed in a suitable candidate, are discussed. Given the long experience of the cardinals who are over eighty and the pivotal role they play in shaping the ideas of the cardinal-electors, their exclusion would widely be seen as wounding the Sacred College and the papal conclave. It would also reduce to an even smaller minority within the discussions those cardinals who had not been appointed by Pope Francis.


The document would also radically change the procedures and organization of the General Congregations, eliminating plenary sessions (wherein all the cardinals convene as a body) and establishing small working groups with a head to guide discussions, similar to the October 2023 synodal assembly.

While Pope Francis is said to be intent on reforming the papal conclave in a more “synodal” style, we are told he has not yet given a definitive “yes” to the document, which if promulgated will surely meet with considerable resistance from members of the Sacred College.

The Remnant has also learned that Cardinal Ghirlanda is seeking to convince Pope Francis to undertake a truly revolutionary act, by revolutionizing who elects the Pope. Professing to “return to the early Church”, the idea would be to have cardinal-electors, the majority of whom Pope Francis has chosen, comprise seventy-five percent of the vote, while the remaining twenty-five percent would be made up of laymen and women and religious sisters, papally appointed by Pope Francis in advance of the Apostolic See becoming vacant.


If promulgated, the document would widely be seen as representing an ecclesial and theological upheaval of papal elections. While Pope Francis is said to be intent on reforming the papal conclave in a more “synodal” style, we are told he has not yet given a definitive “yes” to the document which, if promulgated, will surely meet with considerable resistance from members of the Sacred College.






In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.



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