EWTN Catholic Q&A
Papal election
Question from Patricia Lynch on 04-17-2005:

I was always under the impression that the election of the Pope was a unanimous election in the very end. I suppose I got this from understanding that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Conclave-but perhaps it would seem to miraculous, with the number of cardinals involved. Is this true? Thanks - Patricia

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-17-2005:

The election must be by 2/3rds vote, and may even be by a simple majority, if it runs long enough to permit the special provisions John Paul included in the rules. Grace builds on nature, and while God's Providence can provide for strict miracles, His providence is miraculous enough. Who but God could have foreseen the blessings of the last pontificate, and who but God can foresee the next and bring it to pass through sinful, human agents, as we all are - even Cardinals.