Catholic Dictionary




The alleged right of the Holy Roman emperors, and the sovereigns of France, Spain, and the two Sicilies to exclude certain cardinals from election at a papal conclave. Although the popes protested, there are on record seven occasions when the cardinals really changed their votes in order not to see the new Pope embarrassed by the disaffection of some powerful ruler. The last resistance of a successful interference was in 1903, after the death of Leo XIII. When Austria objected to Cardinal Rampolla (1843-1913), the electors on his own request ceased voting for him and concentrated on Joseph Sarto, who became Pope Pius X. Soon after his election the Pope forbade (January 20, 1904), under pain of excommunication, that any such exclusion should be expressed by any cardinal.