Habemus Papam (We Have a Pope), Changes To Way Name Is Announced by Father Anthony

Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, in 2005, announces Habemus Papam.
Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, in 2005, announces Habemus Papam. Click for RECORDING

Habemus Papam (We have a pope), from which this blog gets its name, is the time honored announcement (at least as of the 15th century, but probably earlier), that a new pope has been elected. These days, it is made by the senior most cardinal deacon from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to the world, but in particular to the crowds gathered in the square below — once the news of the white smoke has spread.

The announcement, always in Latin, is as follows:
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam!
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum [[First Name of the one elected pope]],
Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem [[Last Name of the one elected pope]],
Qui sibi nomen imposuit [[Latin Regnal Name by which the pope wishes to be known]].


The English translation is:
I announce to you a great joy:
We have a Pope!
The most eminent and most reverend Lord,
Lord [[First Name of the one elected pope]],
Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church [[Last Name of the one elected pope]],
Who takes to himself the name of [[Latin Regnal Name by which the pope wishes to be known]].


Wikipedia, from which I got the above words has a decent article, including a statement as to how the Regnal Name is articulated.

Father Anthony, from the UK, a Catholic Priest who participated in the Mass following Paul VI‘s (#263) 1975 consistory and also plans to be at the November 20, 2010 consistory, send me this e-mail clarifying how the way the name is stated has changed. In ‘The Next Pope‘ book, on page 206-207, when talking about Habemus Papam, I was not specific about the possible different Latin ‘cases.’ I just listed the Regnal Names — in what I think Father Anthony, who has a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L) from Rome from the 1970s, refers to as the accusative case!


So, Father Anthony, has this to say, which I found fascinating:

Just one little point ( highly pedantic !) When the Proto-Deacon announces the name of the new Pope there has been a change since 1978.

in 1963: …. qui sibi nomen imposuit Paulum Sextum ( accusative case )
This was also used, as far as I am aware for his predecessors, e.g. Joannem Vigesimum Tertium, Pium Duodecimum etc.

In August 1978:  Cardinal Felici ( a distinguished Latinist ) used: …… qui sibi nomen imposuit Joannis Pauli Primi (genetive case).

In October 1978  The same Cardinal Felici used: …. qui sibi nomen imposuit Joannis Pauli. (I think but am not sure without the numeral “Secundi”. [Note from Anura: While 'Primi' in August was indeed a 'first,' as I talk about in my first book,  John Paul II was indeed the 'second' and should have been identified as such ... in the same way the ordinals of Paul VI, John XXIII and Pius XII were stated] )

I was in the Piazza that night!

In 2005 Cardinal Medina Estivez used: …. qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedicti Decimi Sexti [click on photo at top to see a video of the announcement from YouTube]

It doesn’t much matter perhaps. It is a quite correct use of Latin, as far as I am aware, but if you listen to recordings you will be able to confirm the above. [check YouTube]

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