Tuesday, Aug. 8, 1978
In 1975 Pope Paul laid down even stiffer rules on secrecy, instructing cardinals to “ensure the enclosure is not violated in any way.” The pope was reported to have been angered by frequent news leaks from the Vatican and by a book by two Italian journalists titled “Sex in the Confessional” based on their own confessions, tape-recorded without the knowledge of the priests. Under Pope Paul’s directive, two technicians must be at hand to test for the presence of instruments for the recording, reproduction, or transmission of voices and images in the Sistine Chapel.
In the conclave that elected Pope Paul [cardinals’] notes were sent afterward for storage in the Vatican’s secret archives. Pope Paul’s rules now bar this and the only permanent record will be that of the papal chamberlain, French Cardinal Jean Villot, whose record will then be stored in the archives.
“Although anyone is free to speak any language, they will probably communicate in Latin most of the time,” said Ernesto Civardi, secretary of the Sacred College of Cardinals.
Locked in with the cardinals will be barbers, physicians, pharmacists, nuns to cook, and a number of workmen.
Cardinals or any of the staff locked in with them — a total of about 400 people — are automatically excommunicated if they reveal what goes on at the election.
Many business and government organizations hold private (or secret) meetings. Why do you think the media fixates so much on the secrecy of the conclave?