Today in Catholic History – The Papal Conclave of 1978

On 14 October 1978, the conclave which would elect Cardinal Karol Wojtyła as pope to succeed Pope John Paul I began. It would last until 16 October 1978.

Pope John Paul I died on 28 September quite unexpectedly. While Wojtyła was not initially seen as a likely candidate for the papacy, but neither of the two initial names put forward – Giuseppe Siri, Archbishop of Genoa, and Giovanni Benelli, Archbishop of Florence, were able to get the sufficient two-thirds plus one for election. Cardinal Franz König of Vienna suggested Wojtyła as a compromise. When he was elected, Wojtyła, taking the name John Paul II, said, “With obedience in faith to Christ, my Lord, and with trust in the Mother of Christ and the Church, in spite of great difficulties, I accept.” He was the first non-Italian pope since 1523.


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