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*Image: The Walk to Emmaus by Lelio Orsi, c. 1565-75 [National Gallery, London, England]

By Stephen P. White, The Catholic Thing, Sept. 8, 2022

Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

In 1903, the College of Cardinals met in Rome to elect a successor to Pope Leo XIII, who had reigned for 25 years. It was widely thought that the conclave would elect Cardinal Mariano Rampolla, who had served as Leo XIII’s influential Secretary of State. When it became clear that Rampolla was closing in on the votes to be elected, the Archbishop of Krakow intervened.

Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph had instructed his Cracovian subject to invoke the ius exclusivae – a right of exclusion claimed by certain Catholic monarchs to veto a single candidate in a conclave – against Rampolla. The College of Cardinals did not acquiesce immediately to the Emperor’s demand, but after several more rounds of voting, it was Giuseppe Sarto, not Rampolla, who emerged from the conclave as the new bishop of Rome, taking the name Pius X.   …

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