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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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The assembly or meeting of the cardinals shut up for the election of a Pope. Conclave also signifies the place in which the cardinals of the Romish church meet for the above-mentioned purpose. The conclave is a range of small cells, ten feet square, made of wainscot: these are numbered, and drawn by lot. They stand in a line along the galleries and hall of the Vatican, with a small space between each. Every cell has the arms of the cardinal over it. The conclave is not fixed to any one determinate place, for the constitutions of the church allow the cardinals to make choice of such a place for the conclave as they think most convenient: yet it is generally held in the Vatican.

The conclave is very strictly guarded by troops: neither the cardinals, nor any person shut up in the conclave, are spoken to, but at the hours allowed of, and then in Italian or Latin: even the provisions for the conclave are examined, that no letters be conveyed by that means from the ministers of foreign powers, or other persons, who may have an interest in the election of the pontiff.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Conclave'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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