Accepted, Not Elected: The Curious Case of Pope Boniface II

Accepted, Not Elected: The Curious Case of Pope Boniface II

In the near future:

Pope Francis’s health has taken a turn for the worse. He knows he has only a few weeks to live. In an effort to perpetuate his agenda after his death, he declares Cardinal Tagle as his successor. In a formal ceremony, he places a special pallium upon Cardinal Tagle, representing the succession of the papacy to him. Francis then threatens excommunication to anyone who does not accept Tagle as the legitimate pope after his death.

Soon after this ceremony, Pope Francis dies. Cardinal Tagle, taking the papal name Francis II, moves into the Vatican to begin his pontificate, amid many supporters within the high reaches of the Church. However, more than 100 cardinal electors gather to elect a new pope, refusing to accept Tagle’s appointment. In a surprise move — and perhaps as a reaction to Francis’s heavy-handed manner of selecting Tagle — they elect Cardinal Sarah as pope, who takes the name John Paul III. 

A week later, Rome witnesses a bizarre sight: on the exact same day, both Tagle and Sarah are formally consecrated as pope in separate ceremonies: Tagle in St. Peter’s Basilica and Sarah in St. John Lateran. 

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