Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
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Since 1179, cardinals have been the exclusive electors of the Roman Pontiff. In the twelfth century members of the electoral college were also prelates (bishops and archbishops) from outside of Rome, and by the fifteenth century (under Pope Eugenius IV in 1439) even cardinals who were only priests were given a voice in the papal election.