The Conclave Begins

Friday, Aug. 25, 1978

Papal Conclave Opens Today (AP)

Estimates for the time required for one of the cardinals to get the two-thirds majority required for election ranged from four days to a week or more. But whoever is elected, “there will be no return to the past” in papal policies. Cardinal Michele Pellegrino said [yesterday] in a lecture in the town of Assisi.

Pellegrino, 75-year-old retired archbishop of Turin, said conservatives who would like to roll back the work of the 1962-65 Vatican Ecumenical Council have “some representation in the conclave, because the hierarchy is a composite world.” But “only a minority would want a return to the past.” All but 11 of the 111 cardinals participating in the conclave were appointed by Pope Paul during his 15-year reign.

Cardinals Expected to be Cautious (Smith Hempstone)

Few here expect this momentous conclave to be a brief one, although the heat of a Roman August may serve to expedite the work of the Holy Spirit.

The election of Pius XII in 1936 required less than 36 hours. John XXIII, who was perceived because of his age (76 at election) as a caretaker pontiff, emerged from a conclave that was deadlocked for five days. So obvious were the intellectual abilities and spiritual qualities of Paul VI that the white puff of smoke proclaiming a new Vicar of Christ issued from the roof of the Sistine Chapel in less than 48 hours.

ABC News Papal Conclave Opening Aug 25 1978

The First Televised Papal Conclave (ABC News)

A Look Inside the Sistine Chapel (360° panorama)

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