ABOUT FOSTERING CONSENSUS BUILDING
The Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo is the crime scene of the longest conclave in the history of the Catholic church.
NO ESCAPE – BEING LOCKED WITH A KEY…AND YOUR OPPONENTS
According to the rules of the church the committee of cardinals come together to elect the pope. They are locked into a building, get a key (con clave = with key) until they have agreed on the appointment of a new pope. Nobody can enter the building and nobody can leave the building until the new Pope is elected. The voting and negotiations are top secret. The cardinals are completely isolated and signal the successful election – which requires a qualified majority – by burning their notes and diaries – creating white smoke. The outer world is informed about a successless ballot by creating black smoke.
The papal election of 1268–71 (from November 1268 to 1 September 1271), following the death of Pope Clement IV, blew any world record. It was namely the longest papal election in the history of the Catholic Church.
THREE YEARS OF FIERCE INFIGHTING – SIMPLY INSANE!
This was due primarily to political infighting between the cardinals. The election of Teobaldo Visconti as Pope Gregory X was the first example of a papal election by “compromise”, that is, by the appointment of a committee of six cardinals agreed to by the other remaining ten.
BREAD & WATER ONLY…AND FINALLY, THE REMOVAL OF THE ROOF
The election occurred more than a year after the magistrates of Viterbo locked the cardinals in, reduced their rations to bread and water, and removed the roof of the Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo.
The palazzo is located in Northern Italy….which means it must have been quite unconfortable to face rainy weather and freezing cold temperatures during winter time.
SHUTDOWN OF THE CHURCH & GOVERNMENT FOR 3 YEARS
Incredible, this selfishness and stubborness of the cardinals and the patience of the people outside. Considering the important role of the church in medieval times, you can compare the situation with a shutdown of the government that was legitimated by the pope/church and which organization was tightly interwoven with the power system of the Catholic church….
BETTER BEING DEAD THAN COMPROMISING
As a result of the length of the election, during which three of the twenty cardinal-electors died and one resigned, Gregory X promulgated the papal bull Ubi periculum on 7 July 1274, during the Second Council of Lyon, establishing the papal conclave, whose rules were based on the tactics employed against the cardinals in Viterbo. The first election held under those rules is sometimes viewed as the first conclave.
REFERENCES TO THE PRESENT ARE MERELY INCIDENTAL