Where ‘Papam’ Comes From

Once a papal conclave has elected a new pope, and the pope elect has agreed to be pope and specified the papal name he wishes to be known by, the senior Cardinal Deacon (of the College of Cardinals) steps onto the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica (at the Vatican) and makes the following proclamation in Latin:
“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam!”

Which, in English, means: “I announce to you a great joy. We have a Pope!”

So that is the best known, and most germane, use of the term ‘papam.’ Since this is going to be a BLOG and Web site devoted to all aspects of papal elections, past and future, I thought ‘papam,’ from “Habemus Papam,” was an appropriate name for this venture.

Here is an article by Dana Stevens, from Slate, at the time of Pope Benedict XVI’s election on April 19, 2005, that explains the Latin ‘mechanics’ of the term.

Written by Anura Guruge


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