Non habemus Papam:
As I suspected it would, the death of Pope John Paul II hit me hard. I'm not sure why, since I am an errant Catholic, but he seems to have attracted many in that way. I dug out a set of rosaries he blessed while I was at the Vatican in December of 1993, and I have been carrying them around in my pocket. And no, I didn't get an audience with His Holiness - he blessed the rosaries as I held them out above my head among the large crowd in St. Peter's Square (Catholics count such things as legitimate blessings), and then took them back to my mother, who was dying at the time.
In creating the following table, I was trying to figure out how long conclaves have lasted, what the lengths of the interregnums between Popes have been, and what the lengths of papal reigns have been. Well, of course, it wasn't that simple.
First was finding a listing of Popes - since the Papacy extends back nearly 2000 years, there are several different lists, and they differ in agreeing who was and was not a Pope. The two 'best' lists I found were at advent.org and in the wikipedia papal list (I suspect the wiki author(s) used advent.org as a source, which yields the good agreement - I have posted discussions of this dangerous sampling tactic before). The Vatican website, surprisingly, has very little covering this set of basic facts (in any language - I looked, they all go back only to Leo XIII).
The second issue was that the advent.org listing did not have dates, and the article under each of the links for the Popes did not consistently give dates for birth, death, election or the beginning dates of the electing or following conclaves, even for recent Popes. The first of my questions, "what have lengths of conclaves been?" had to be abandoned due to lack of (quickly available) data. There is a good set of articles on the more recent conclaves at wikipedia, and a listing of conclaves at Salvador Miranda's site.
The other questions, the length of interregnums and reigns, quickly ran into problems for several reasons. Although the Wiki site has dates listed by each Pope's name, I was not sure of several things: was the start date the election or the coronation? (the definition of when the elected person becomes Pope has changed with time). There are also some overlapping dates - the death of a Pope post-dates the election/corontaion of the next. Are these abdications and/or resignations? I did not go back to check these cases.
The most fundamental question revolved around the dates themselves: for dates before 1752, I was not sure whether the stated dates were using the Gregorian, proleptic Gregorian, or Julian calendars. Also, since 1752 was the year the U.K. and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, and the events were occurring in Rome, which had dropped the Julian calendar during Gregory XIII's reign in 1572, what about the dates between 1572 and 1752? Under which calendar were they stated? And of course, the exact dates get very hazy as one goes further back, and there are cases of second or even third terms after depositions/revolutions. etc. I decided only to take this list back to Popes since the year 1000.
To top it all off, Excel cannot handle dates before 1900 (1903 on a Mac) without special add-in functions, so calculations for these pre-1900 dates were impossible until I hunted down free extended date add-in functions (which, incidentally, do not properly account for the fact that 14 September 1752 was the day after 2 September 1752, in the U.K. at least).
So, with the above caveats, here is the table:
|Pope||Length of Reign||Date of Death||Length of FOLLOWING interregnum||Date of Election|
|John Paul II (the Great)||9,665||2-Apr-2005||16-Oct-1978|
|John Paul I||33||28-Sep-1978||18||26-Aug-1978|
|Adoption of Gregorian calendar in the U.K. and its colonies|
|Julian calendar dropped by the church|
|St. Pius V||2,306||1-may-1572||12||7-jan-1566|
|Blessed Urban V||3,004||19-dec-1370||11||28-sep-1362|
|Blessed Benedict XI||259||7-jul-1304||363||22-oct-1303|
|St. Celestine V||161||13-dec-1294||11||5-jul-1294|
|Blessed Innocent V||153||22-jun-1276||19||21-jan-1276|
|Blessed Gregory X||1,592||10-jan-1276||11||1-sep-1271|
|Innocent IV||4,203||27-dec-1254||-15 (?)||25-jun-1243|
|Celestine III||2,476||8-jan-1198||0 (?)||30-mar-1191|
|Blessed Eugene III||3,065||8-jul-1153||4||15-feb-1145|
|Lucius II||368||15-mar-1145||-28 (?)||12-mar-1144|
|Blessed Urban II||4,156||29-jul-1099||15||12-mar-1088|
|Blessed Victor III||476||16-sep-1087||178||28-may-1086|
|St. Gregory VII||4,420||29-may-1085||364||22-apr-1073|
|St. Leo IX||1,892||19-apr-1054||359||12-feb-1049|
The average papal reign over the last 1,000 years: 2,973 days.
The average interregnum: 93 days.