THE INSIDE STORY: ELECTING POPE SIXTUS V, 1585
The Cardinals entered the conclave. Small apartments, or cells, had been erected in the long Gallery and hung with Purple Cloth.
The conclavists are generally the craftiest fellows that can be met with. To avoid any undue influence, even the dishes served are searched, lest there should be any letters concealed in them.
To become pope, a candidate must receive two-thirds of the vote, which is rarely the case.
An alternative way to elect a pope is “by access”. Each cardinal rising from his seat goes and makes a profound reverence to him whom he would have elected.
The method which makes the greatest noise and bustle is the way of Adoration, which is seldom put in practice but when some young and hot headed Cardinals resolve to become masters of the election. They plot among themselves, agree on one man, and fall down before him on their knees.
Others follow suit, unwilling to stand out and incur the displeasure of him who may be elected without them.
The pope so chosen is led to the Sacristy, where he is clothed in pontifical robes and seated at the altar. The cardinals approach in order to kiss his feet, hands, and mouth. This done, the doors of the conclave are opened, and the pope shows himself to the people and blesses them.
That is the prescribed method, but he that desires a true specimen of all the little arts and tricks whereby the candidates procure votes, should read the following account…[TO BE CONTINUED IN MY NEXT BLOG POST].
(Source: Anonymous pamphlet entitled The Intrigues of the Conclave at the Choosing of a Pope)