VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has changed the rules for electing a new pope, returning to the traditional requirement that two-thirds of the cardinals in the conclave agree on a new pontiff, the Vatican said Tuesday.
PopeJohn Paul II had altered the voting process in 1996, allowing the pope to be chosen by an absolute majority if the cardinals were unable to agree after several days of balloting in which a two-thirds majority was needed.
In a document released Tuesday, Benedict said he was returning to the traditional voting norm, essentially reversing John Paul's revision of the centuries-old process.
The brief document, written in Latin, was issued June 11, 2007 and signed by Benedict.
Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was elected pope on April 19, 2005 in one of the fastest conclaves in modern history. He reportedly was elected after four ballots, with 84 of the 115 votes.