Definition of Conclave in English

In order to know the meaning of the term conclave, it is essential, first of all, to discover its etymological origin. In this case, we can state that it derives from Latin, exactly from “conclave – conclavis”, which is a word used to refer to a room that is locked.

The concept is used to name the meeting of cardinals of the Catholic Church that takes place to elect a new pope.

The etymological root is linked to the cardinals isolating themselves from the outside world while the election process takes place. This seclusion helps prevent voters from being pressured or influenced.

The College of Cardinals, made up of all the cardinals, is in charge of the organization and development of the conclaves. Upon the death of a pope, one of these meetings is held that allows the election of the pontiff who will succeed the deceased. Because the pope is also the head of state of the Vatican, the conclave determines who will be the leader of the government of that European country.

According to DigoPaul, the conclaves, for several centuries, take place in the Sistine Chapel. On each day of the conclave, two sessions are held (in the morning and in the afternoon) with two votes in each one until the pope is elected, a fact that is specified when a two-thirds majority is reached. The elected candidate is informed of the result of the vote immediately and must indicate whether or not he accepts the position.

To communicate the results of the conclave voting to the people, a tradition known as fumata is used. After each session, the ballot papers are burned so that smoke comes out of the chimney on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. If the necessary votes for the election of the pope were not reached, or the elected one rejected the position, the ballots are burned with wet straw so that black smoke is generated. On the other hand, if the election of the pope was achieved and the candidate accepted, the smoke is made with dry straw and the smoke is white. This is how people gathered in the Vatican or who follow the ceremony from a distance find out the news.

In addition to all the above, we cannot forget either that this term has been used on more than one occasion within the literary field. A good example of this is the thriller “Cónclave”, published in 2017 and written by author Robert Harris.

It is a thriller that takes as its starting point the death of the Pope. That means that a total of 118 cardinals from different corners of the world meet in the Sistine Chapel and closed doors to vote for the one who will be the new Supreme Pontiff. However, what is imagined as a quiet session will turn into a true power struggle as everyone present has the dream and ambition to be the leader of the Catholic Church.

In the same way, we cannot ignore that in Malaga, specifically in the town of Fuengirola, there is a store that is called “El conclave de piedra”. It is an establishment where all kinds of board games can be purchased. In the same way, it acts as a toy library and allows you to see in situ demonstrations of the different games that are sold.

Conclave