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whereas the provisions in the Bull were an organic law, promulgated with the full consent of the Cardinals, wbich were always to hold good when public dangers threatened their free deliberations. In tranquil times the old law was to be observed.
A few weeks later the Papacy was exposed to imminent danger. On the 13th of February, 1798, the Pope was sitting on his throne in a chapel of the Vatican, surrounded by his Cardinals. On a sudden, the shouts of an angry multitude penetrated to the Conclave, intermingled with the strokes of axes and hammers on the doors. A band of soldiers burst into the hall, tore away from the Pope's fingerthe pontifical ring, and treated him with great inhumanity. On the day following the Republican leaders directed that a Te Deum should be sung in the Vatican for the fall of the temporal power of the Papacy, and that the
military battalions should proclaim the establishment of the Republic by the discharge of artillery in the Square of St. Peter, under the windows of the Pope. On the 20th of February, 1798, Pius VI. was carried away a prisoner into Tuscany by the French, and the Cardinals were dispersed. After a short sojourn at Sienna, the Pope was finally placed in the Old Carthusian monastery near Florence. He was separated from the Cardinals, some of whom took refuge in the kingdom of Naples, while others repaired to Venetia, which the Treaty of Campo-Formio had ceded to Austria.
In the history of the Papacy the crisis was most formidable. The health of the Pope, undermined by his troubles and weakened by the advance of old age, indicated that his death could not be far distant. The complete dispersion of the Cardinals, however, disorganized the machinery for the election of his successor. The last Bull was plainly insufficient because it had not provided for that emergency. The Cardinals were not agreed on the place where the Conclave should be held. In the event of the Pope dying without any previous arrangement for the convention of the Conclave, it was feared that the Cardinals who had taken refuge in the Venetian States mightas the Cardinal Dean, the principal officer of the body, was with them—under the influence of royal pressure, meet and to an unlawful election. They might, in fact, say that the Dean's presence made them a legislative representation of the Sacred College. Hence the first object was to induce the Pope to sanction the promulgation of an instrument which would effectually prevent the evil in question. Enfeebled as he was both in body and mind, Pius shrank from the responsibility involved
a step. At length Cardinal Antonelli, having sought and obtained an interview with the
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Pope, proposed a Bull to him, with the substance of which he expressed his agreement. The Dean with two or three others was to be empowered to name a place for the election of the Pope. The Cardinals were to be authorized to give their votes by proxies held by one of their body. This proceeding was objectionable for two reasons. The first was that it was without precedent, and the second was that it exposed the Cardinals to the penalties inflicted on those who treated of the election of the Pope during his lifetime.
Pius had at first consented to this proposal ; but as he reflected on its possible consequences, he shrank from taking so decided a step on his own authority. He therefore now shrank from the issue of the Bull, and consulted the Cardinals, especially those in Venetia. The impression made on their minds proved so decidedly unfavourable to the proposal, that he determined to drop the Bull.
But this neglect to pass a special measure dealing with an unprecedented situation was contrary to the general desire. Accordingly a second draft of a Bull, providing for the circumstances of the case, was brought forward for consideration. Monsignore Michel di Pietro, residing at Rome as delegate of the Pope, drew up a paper which enabled the Pope to secure the safety of the Church. This draft was not at once sent to the Pope, but was first forwarded to the Cardinals in Venetia for their opinion. The latter at once expressed their approval of its terms.
The Bull was also sent for approval to the Cardinals in all the countries not invaded by the French armies. Having been approved and signed by the Pope, it was issued at Florence on November 13, 1798. This Bull marks an epoch in Papal legislation. The wonder is that it should have been forgotten by the world. Even Lucius I.ector and Berthelet do not give us sufficient information to enable us to form a correct idea of its nature and importance. Both keep in the background the danger of a schism likely to be caused by the dispersion of the Cardinals. Berthelet seems not to know, or at all
events neglects to state, the real cause of the unwillingness of Pius to issue the Bull, which was that he did not like to act without his Cardinals.
The crisis was one of the utmost importance in the history of Europe. A refusal to issue the Bull might have resulted, as we have just stated, in a schism which, in the temper of the public inind at that time, might have inflicted a lasting injury on the Papacy. As in the case of the Forty Years' Schism, two or three Popes might have been seen wandering about Europe, elected by the different bodies of Cardinals in the several places
where they had taken up their abode, and, if not anathematising one another, at all events claiming the allegiance of the faithful. Against the recurrence of such an evil this Bull was framed. The oldest Cardinal in the Sacred College, or the senior among the priests who were with him at the time of the Pope's death, was to notify the fact to all the other Cardinals. In order to prevent the evil of several elections or schisms, the Conclave was to be formed of the largest number of Cardinals who might be together in the territory of one Catholic sovereign. The oldest of this group of Cardinals, after consultation with his colleagues, was to fix upon the most suitable place for the Conclave. The Cardinals composing the majority under these conditions of residence, were declared to constitute a Conclave empowered to settle all questions relating to the manner of the election, and to proceed to that election without any summons, provided ten days had been allowed to elapse, after notification of the Pope's death, that Cardinals at a distance might join their colleagues.
case was the election to be valid without the majority of two-thirds of the Cardinals.
The issue of this Bull was justified by the event. After the occupation of Florence by the French troops, Pius VI., having been treated with every indignity, was conducted through Lombardy and Piedmont to France, where he died at Valence on August 26, 1799. The preparations for the Conclave were made in conformity with the directions in the Bull. As the reverses of the Revolutionary armies had left part of Italy to its former masters, the Cardinals were able, on the death of Pius VI., to avail themselves of the permission given to them, and to hold the Conclave in Venice, where the greatest number were assembled. In that city, after a long and laborious Conclave, which might have been still longer without the facilities afforded by the Bull of Pius, they elected on March 14, 1800, Barnabas Chiaramonti, who took the name of Pius Vll.
The legislation of Pius VI. was not forgotten in subsequent times. We have authority for the statement that Gregory XVI. lest behind him a document empowering the Cardinals to proceed to an immediate election if they saw any difficulty in the way of the free action of the Conclave. Of these precedents it is now known that Pius IX. availed himself. After the entrance of the troops of the King of Italy within the walls of Rome on September 20, 1870, an insurrectionary movement broke out in the metropolis. Pius IX. at that time contemplated the possibility of a Conclave outside the walls of Rome, and had made preparations for a retreat to one of the Mediterranean islands ; but he was dissuaded by Cardinal Antonelli
On July 3, 1871, the Italian capital was transferred to Rome by the suffrages of the Romans. Pius IX., apprehensive of danger, guided by the precedents supplied by Pius VI. and Gregory XVI., on August 23, 1871, prepared a Bull adapted to the new crisis. The existence of this Bull and of those which will be given afterwards had been for a long time suspected. The secret had, however, been so well kept that, even after the Conclave of Leo XIII., their existence was unknown, All the Bulls were published for the first time by Commendatore Berthelet at the end of 1891.
The Bull for August 23, 1871, directs that, without waiting for the arrival of the other Cardinals and the Pope's obsequies, on the expiration of the usual nine days, those present in the town where the Pope dies shall decide by a simple majority in what corner of the earth'the Conclave shall assemble; that the election may take place when the half of the members of the Sacred College plus one shall be found in the Conclave; that no alteration shall be made in the schedule for voting or in the election by ballot and scrutiny; and that the majority of two-thirds shall always be required for a valid election.
The Bull for September 8, 1874, simply gives a few new directions in regard to the functions of the Conclave, and prescribes the simplification of the obsequies of the Pope. But in the Bull of October 10, 1877, the regulations for the next Conclave are specified with greater precision, and all previous regulations are summarised.
The first Article confirms to the Sacred College the right of electing the Pope, to the absolute exclusion of any intervention on the part of the secular Power. The second provides that, with a view to accelerate the election, the Cardinals may dispense with the accessory ceremonials of the Conclave as set forth by previous enactments. They can take what measures they think proper for the safety and organization of the Conclave, for the meals, and the reduction of the number of the Conclavists. The third annuls all previous rules concerning the duties of the civil and municipal magistrate in connexion with the Conclave. The fourth states that, in the event of the death of the Pope taking place at Rome, the Cardinals present in the Curia at the moment of his decease shall decide, by an absolute majority of voices, if the election shall take place out of Rome and out of Italy. As soon as the number of Cardinals present shall be one-half plus one of all the members of the Sacred College, they may, if they think fit, proceed immediately to an election.
Article 5 enacts that the funeral ceremony shall be as simple
as possible. By Article 6 the Pope, having regard to the position of the Holy See, expresses his wish that the Conclave may be held out of Italy. - Article 7 prescribes that if the Cardinals shall decide on holding the Conclave in Italy, and even at Rome, if there shall be any infringement of the respect due to the place of meeting, or of their personal independence, either by private persons or by the agents of the Government, the Conclave must be dissolved, and must assemble out of Italy. Articles 10 and 11 require that no alteration shall be made in the conditions of the election, in the majority required, in the order of the scrutinies, or in the voting-papers.
Another Bull was written by Pius IX., on January 10, 1878, the day after the death of Victor Emmanuel. It gives minute instructions as to the course of proceedings in the event of any attempt on the part of the Italian Government to approach the Vatican in a friendly or hostile manner, and breathes throughout an uncompromising and unbending spirit
. With this Bull the development of the Conclave system is complete. Our object has been to give our readers a clear idea of the laws by which it is governed and of the circumstances by which its growth has been influenced. Experience of past
evils and attempts to provide appropriate remedies have moulded the system in its present shape. The manner in which it has worked is often highly dramatic, always deeply interesting, not only to students of ecclesiastical history, but also to all observers of human nature. It cannot be doubted that the further examination of the archives preserved at the Vatican, or stored in the houses of the Italian nobility, will open to us new pages in the history of Europe, and show that the Conclaves have been the secret causes of many of the political movements which have disturbed the peace of the nations that form the great European commonwealth.
Recent enquiry shows that an organism, which at first sight seems framed on the most rigid formalism, contains within itself an elasticity that renders it capable of adaptation to new forins and circumstances. The constitution of the Court of Rome is, therefore, so far from being of a limited nature that, as we have seen especially during this century, it can at once be adjusted to the circumstances which imperatively require a change. No limitation is imposed on the full power of the governing body. If then it be the case that present circumstances exact changes for the removal of difficulties which seem otherwise insurmountable, it is certain that the Pope is at perfect liberty to make any concessions which the circumstances of the case render necessary.