Randall Balmer

Papal Conclave Takes New Route to the Ancient Ways

Editor’s note: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was picked Wednesday, March 13, 2013, as the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years, he will be called Pope Francis.

In the days before the Conclave entered the Sistine Chapel to choose a new pope to succeed Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign his office in nearly 600 years, Dartmouth’s Randall Balmer, the Mandel Family Professor of Arts and Sciences and chair of the Department of Religion, and Christopher MacEvitt, an associate professor of religion, talked with Dartmouth Now about the process of picking the new pope.

With Cardinals entering the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope, the spectacle of the conclave merges a centuries-old script with spur-of-the-moment improv, but the likelihood of a radical reformer emerging from the gathering is very slim, observers say.

Faculty Forum: Randall Balmer

Faculty members share their insights on current events with Dartmouth Now in a question-and-answer series called Faculty Forum. This week, Randall Balmer talks about the role of religion in the presidential race.

A prize-winning historian and Emmy Award nominee, Professor Randall Balmer chairs the Department of Religion. He taught at Columbia University for 27 years and was a visiting professor at Dartmouth before joining the faculty full-time on July 1, 2012. Balmer has published widely in both scholarly journals and the popular press, and has written more than a dozen books.

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