Talk:Sede vacante

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Questions (should relate to article improvement)[edit]

I'm surprised to see an edit summary that says "Popes can't resign!!". Canon law says quite explicitly that they can, and it's happened twice. Michael Hardy 20:34, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The time of the beginning of the sede vacante for 2005 should be expressed in Central European Summer Time (CEST) in my opinion. Thus, I have chnaged the time to 22:30 pm CEST.-- 20:45, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I have to disagree on what time it should be on. I commend whoever put it up that sede vacante is currently active - it shows an extremely quick reaction to current events. However I think that UTC is a better time for a few reasons - 1. UTC is the time used throughout the world for communication purposes between zones of different time, and is used on wikipedia by default. 2. Not everyone will know what CEST is. When I saw it I thought that it was Central time US, but a confusing way to shorten it. I do understand that yes the vatican is currently in CEST but I think that UTC time is better in this global age. I'm going to revert it back but i'm not going to start a revert war over it.--Theloniouszen 23:17, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

That is fine. I just changed it to CEST after Eastern Time US was posted.-- 23:46, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Is Sede Vacante a latin expression? I think is in italian... SγωΩηΣ tαlk 10:09, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It happens to be identical both in Italian and in the ablative case in Latin.

'In 1878 there was no sede vacante period at all, with Pope Leo XIII being elected on the very day that his predecessor Pope Pius IX died.' - I'll revert this here, as well as in the article on Pope Leo XIII. Pius IX died on 7 February, and Leo XIII was elected on 20 February. This error may have been caused by the interesting fact that Gioacchino Cardinal Pecci, future Leo XIII, was the Camerlengo and the top official of the Catholic Church during the interregnum of 1878. Mapple 19:59, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Even if he had been elected on the same day, wouldn't there still have been a sede vacante, even if it only lasted a few hours? Nik42 01:15, 30 November 2005 (UTC)


I don't know whether the following sentence is accurate or not, but if it is it belongs in the Pope article, not here:

"Since the Pope is infallible after the declaration of 1870 in the Vatican Council, the Pope cannot be a heretic, and according to the likes of Alphonsus and St Thomas Aquinas, a heretic cannot be Pope."

So I've deleted it. Someone who knows more can decide whether to place it somewhere else. RussBlau 15:29, Apr 12, 2005 (UTC)

It is correct, this is why the Old Catholics broke away. It was decided at this meeting that the pope was infallible. Logically, if the pope is infallible according to Catholics, he cannot be heretic. --Oldak Quill 22:59, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
That doesn't sound quite right. The doctrine of infallibility doesn't say that the Pope is always infallible. Only on matters of faith and morals and only when he says that he's being infallible. ;) At least, so I've been taught. --User:Jenmoa 23:34, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

It's actually pretty complex. Explained here ( --Tony Sidaway|Talk 23:41, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

The teaching on infallibility - which by the way was not "decided" at Vatican I, but belongs to the Deposit of Faith, and had previously been asserted by Popes such as St. Leo the Great, Boniface VIII, Pius IX in one of his first encyclicals in the 1840s and implicitly in the Immaculate Conception dogma, and been taught by the theologians - has not been received as changing the teachings on the "papa haereticus" problem. The infallibility dogma means w.r.t heresy that the Pope cannot be a heretic in his infallible statements (not only "not heretic", of course, but also). Whether he can be a formal heretic at all (Honorius and Liberius were not), and if so, whether he ceases to be Pope upon becoming an obvious* heretic, are entirely different questions. [*The order of the Church requires that a hidden heresy, or an actually heretic belief in a doubtful matter, does not make a Papacy end - this, however, is merely my own private opinion, as well.] It is known that popes can (and without ceasing to be Pope) be material heretics w.r.t. dogmas defined only later, as the example of John XXII proves.-- (talk) 18:57, 25 June 2014 (UTC)


Sedevacantism deserves at least a section in this article. savidan(talk) (e@) 00:08, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Even though 1 March 2013, is the first full day of the current papal vacancy? we still use 28 February 2013 for when the papal vacancy began. Note the dates on the previous vacancies. GoodDay (talk) 01:28, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

When did the 2013 vacancy begin[edit]

Moved from User_talk:Esoglou#Sede_vacante_beginning_date: Moved by Esoglou (talk) 07:44, 12 March 2013 (UTC); Template inserted by Jayarathina (talk) 06:26, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

The following is what Jayarathina wrote on my Talk page and what I wrote there in reply. I see now that Jayarathina has reverted my edit without waiting for my reply. I am therefore copying here both his comment and my answer. Esoglou (talk) 07:44, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

As you said, Canon 203 is about computing duration of a period of time, which here is the duration of Sede vacante, why do you think Canon 203 does not apply for sede vacante? Secondly there is reference in the article from Vatican[1] that sede vacante is calculated from March 1, why do you think that is not enough? Please do not revert it without discussion. --Jayarathina (talk) 05:55, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

For our matter of discussion and for your reference:
  • Can. 202 §1. In law, a day is understood as a period consisting of 24 continuous hours and begins at midnight unless other provision is expressly made;
  • Can. 203 §1. states: The initial day (a quo) is not computed in the total unless its beginning coincides with the beginning of the day or the law expressly provides otherwise. --Jayarathina (talk) 05:59, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
One more thing, the see becoming vacant and the period of sede vacante are two different things. The see became vacant on 28 Feb, there is no question about that. But when is the sede vacante period calculated from is the question at hand. And the reference and cannon law shows it is March 1st --Jayarathina (talk) 06:09, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Pope Benedict declared that the vacancy would begin at 20:00 on 28 February. 28 February is understood as beginning at midnight (00:00).
Supposing the vacancy ends on, say, 15 March, the vacancy will last from 20:00 on 28 February to whatever hour the election is completed on 15 March (a day that is understood as beginning at 00:00 on that day), and the length of the vacancy will be 15 days (not counting 28 February, but counting all the 1-15 March days.
The declaration by the Pope is what counts, not a mistaken report of what Father Lombardi said. You remember how at 20:00 on 28 February, the doors of the Castel Gandolfo palace were solemnly closed and the Swiss Guard, the personal bodyguard of the Pope, departed, because they no longer had a Pope to guard. At 20:00 on 28 February. Esoglou (talk) 07:31, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

So I repeat: The conclave began at 20:00 on 28 February and will end at whatever hour on whatever day the voting ends. In canon law, as in the usual way of reckoning in English, 28 February is not counted when calculating the length of the vacancy. However, the start of the vacancy was undoubtedly on 28 February, and the end of the vacancy will be on whatever day a new pope is elected. As I think I said in my edit summary, to say "in a week", an Italian says "fra otto giorni" (in 8 days, not 7), and the French for "a fortnight" is "une quinzaine de jours" (15 days, not 14). Because of the different ways that people count the number of days canon law (and other legal systems) do have to specify the way to speak of the number of days in a period, a length of time; but they don't thereby declare that the period didn't begin when it did. It is mistaken to put in the table, as you have again done, that this vacancy began on 1 March. And the dates for the beginning of the previous vacancies, which in that table are put at the day of death of the popes, not on the day after they died, are correct. Esoglou (talk) 07:44, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Pope did not say that sede vacante begins on 28 February. He said the see will become vacant on 28 Feb 20:00. All I am trying to say is there is a difference to both of those statements. The see became vacant on 28 Feb, so all those door closing etc., took place at that time. But the article is about the period of sede vacante. The table column "beginning" denotes the beginning of the period of sede vacante. I think we both agree on that. Canonically it begins on March 1. And Fr. Lombardi is the official spokesperson for the Holy See. It is impossible for him to make a mistake on such a grave matter or at-least not correct it yet. He didn't correct it because it is not a mistake. Secondly if assuming a fictitious pope died on 28 February Morning 00:01 then other cardinals have to wait 15 full days to start the conclave. even though 28 feb has only one minute less it will not be counted. --Jayarathina (talk) 13:04, 12 March 2013 (UTC) (copied from my Talk page Esoglou (talk) 19:26, 12 March 2013 (UTC))
I don't know what you mean by "sede vacante". The phrase is a Latin ablative absolute construction meaning "while the see is vacant". The present period during which the see is vacant began, in fact and canonically, at 20:00 on 28 February and it will end, presumably, some hours before 20:00 on the nth of March. The vacancy will thus in fact be a few hours short of n days, but will be counted as n days of vacancy. Just like the previous vacancies in the table. Why should the present vacancy be treated any differently? Esoglou (talk) 19:26, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
  • You have accused me of editing without waiting for your reply, but please check your time stamp, you were the one edited this article without discussion. All I did was to revert your edit and called you for a discussion. I reverted the edit BEFORE calling you for discussion.
  • The entire table has the first full day after the see became vacant, please check that.
  • I don't know why, but you have inserted some text in your reply while moving it (para starting with: So I repeat). I do not claim the the vacancy began on 1 March, but Sede vacante period is calculated officially from the first full day there off. And for your inserted text, NO, the conclave does not begin on 20:00, 28 Feb. I don't understand why Italian or French for that matter has to do anything, When the official spokesperson for the Holy See and cannon law makes it clear --Jayarathina (talk) 06:26, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
The conclave began on 12 March, not 28 February. I regret that you found some mistaken statements of mine offensive: you are right and I was wrong in saying that the table gives the death dates of the Popes as the dates when sede vacante periods began. So the table needs to be corrected even more than I thought. There are no grounds for saying that a "sede vacante period" is canonically anything other than a period of vacancy of the see, or for saying that the 2005 period of sede vacante began on 3 April rather than 2 April, when John Paul II died. It was 2 April, not 3 April, that was the initial day of that period (cf. this source and this). But in canon law (canon 203), 2 April 2005, the initial day of the the period, is not counted in calculating the period's length, so that the duration of 2 April - 19 April is reckoned as 17 days.
That the present "period of sede vacante" began on 28 February is stated also here and here and here and here and here. That the "time of sede vacante" began on 28 February is also stated here. L'Osservatore Romano also reported that "the sede vacante" began on 28 February]. (Another link to the same L'Osservatore Romano article.) That "the sede vacante" began on 28 February is what this source says also. Esoglou (talk) 08:52, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your effort for proving this point. I think it is fair to change because this article should be from secular prespective and not a catholic one. Please change all the dates in table too. If you think it is noteworthy, please add a note in the article somewhere that it is calculated as the first full day for the cannon law purposes to calculate the waiting period. Thanks a lot for all your effort. --Jayarathina (talk) 14:12, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
I thank you warmly for your magnanimity. And I apologize again for the expressions that unintentionally gave rise to offence. Esoglou (talk) 18:47, 14 March 2013 (UTC)