Images from a conclave

At the Lateran there has been a wonderful exhibit about the history of conclaves.  There is a display of objects from various conclaves, including that which elected His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.  Here are a few interesting items.

First, the Cardinals have to get organized and divide up the chores.  They use a system of random selection of wooden balls, each having the name and the number of the Cardinal according to precedence in the college.  These are then placed in a board having indentations according to their roles.  

Here you can see the little ball that Joseph Card. Ratinzger had.  As Dean of the College he was #1 (and still is!). 

I suppose you could say his was the Power Ball.



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  1. Tim Ferguson says:

    I can hear it now:

    Number 34! Ruini, you’re in charge of making sure there’s enough toilet paper in the boathrooms. Numbers 87 and 103! Mahony and Pengo, you’re making the beer run – and no going on the cheap, we don’t want no Schlitz in our conclave. Number 112! Erdo, you’re renting the videos…”

  2. techno_aesthete says:

    Fascinating! I wonder where they got the idea of using little wooden balls instead of pieces of paper.

  3. Juan says:

    Is it going to be around for a while? I visited it at Christmas and it was fascinating enough for another visit in two weeks.

    I liked the cartoons of the Adoration of the Pope seated on the high altar of St Peter’s. Any pictures of that?

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