In recognition of momentous events happening this week, I am departing from my planned theme. Instead, we will share such words as I've been able to find in regarding the election of a new pope.
scrutineer – one who examines something closely and thoroughly. (Brit: one who takes or counts votes)
- John L. Allen Jr., How a Pope is Elected, National Catholic Reporter, April 7, 2005
In the UK a scrutineer is one who checks such things as cars or motorcycles prior to their being allowed onto a race-track or similar.
This has led to a back-formation that has created the word "scrutineering" for the action of scrutinizing machinery in this way.
Habemus papam -- We have a pope.
conclave – a confidential or secret meeting
[from Latin clavis key; referring to 'a lockable room']
The earliest usage of the term was in reference to papal election: "The cardinals, that wolden save The forme of lawe in the conclave, Gon for to chese a new pope." (John Gower, 1393)
– Tom Hundley, Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2005
consistory – the council of cardinals; or, a church tribunal or senate; or (rare), a solemn assembly or council
[from L. for 'place of assembly'; ult. from L for 'to stand together']
- Biograhphy of new pope, in Asia News
plinth – an architectural base (as for a column or statue)
Pope Paul VI (1963-78), in his private notes, speaks of a pope's dreadful solitude and isolation:
– quoted by John Cornwell in Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII
Television pictures showed the Pope's body lying on a plinth, his hands clutching a rosary and his pastoral staff under his arm.
– Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery Channel, April 4, 2005
A series of words today:
novennial – of a nine-year period
novendial – a religious ceremony lasting for nine days; a funeral ceremony on the ninth day after the burial
novena – a prayer service lasting nine days, or weekly for nine weeks
– W. B. McDaniel (1924)
Theoretically, the cardinals are not supposed to discuss the papal succession, even among themselves, before the nine-day mourning period called the Novemdiaes.
– John L. Allen Jr., as cited above for 'scrutineer'
papabile – [pl. papabili] a viable candidate to be elected pope, or for other high office
[also used as adj; in other words, 'popeable'. The older adj. is papable.]
Many dictionaries are behind the times on this word. Of those in one-look, only Wikipedia has it, and there only in the literal papal sense and as an "unofficial" 20th century coinage.
But OED fully recognizes the word, and both its senses have a longer history. Indeed, the extended sense was used as early as 1754, by Pitt.
– Paul Johnson, The Spectator, Sep. 19, 1998
Today's word is especially interesting in its figurative sense. The new pope used it in that sense, shorty before his election.
lapidary – 1. noun a gem-cutter, or the art of gem-cutting; adj. relating to gem-cutting
. . . .[includes cutting polishing, cutting, engraving of gems and other stones]
2. (of language) elegant and concise
[Latin lapidarius stonecutter, from lapis stone]
– Card. Joseph Ratzinger, at funeral mass of Pope John Paul II; April 8, 2005 (English rendering taken from the Vatican's site)