1903 conclave ballots to be auctioned

Expected to sell high

A ballot paper and a sheet used to count votes at the 1903 conclave are to be auctioned in London today, reports The Catholic Herald.

The conclave was notorious because Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria vetoed the front-runner, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, apparently because of his liberal views. Cardinal Rampolla had been Secretary of State under the previous Pope, Leo XIII.

The veto was exercised on the emperor’s behalf by Polish Cardinal Jan Puzyna de Kosielsko of Krakow, a subject of Austria-Hungary, because the Austrian Cardinal refused to exercise the Jus exclusivaeor right of veto. Cardinal Puzyna’s use of the veto was reportedly met with disgust by many of the 62 cardinals at the conclave.

Jus exclusivae by three Catholic heads of state – the kings of Spain and France and the Holy Roman Emperor (later the Austrian emperor) – was used 12 times between 1644, when it was instituted, and 1903.

When Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, Patriarch of Venice, was eventually elected Pope Pius X at the conclave, he abolished the use of the veto, declaring that anyone attempting to interfere in the election of a new pope would be excommunicated. He decreed that at the start of future conclaves the cardinals must take an oath that they were not aiding any civil power in an attempt to influence the election.

The printed form being sold at auction this week would have been used to tot up votes for all the cardinals. Annotations in ink show that Cardinal Rampolla was the clear favourite and that Cardinal Sarto was way behind.

FULL STORY Ballot sheets from 1903 conclave to be sold at auction (The Catholic Herald)

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