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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)
    On the fourth ballot, the result was quasi-unanimous ... Cardinal Joseph Höffner of Germany told the media there was no need to count the votes, because the only name read out by the scrutineer was Luciani [Pope John Paul I, elected 1978].
    - John L. Allen Jr., How a Pope is Elected, National Catholic Reporter, April 7, 2005
 
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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.


Richard English
 
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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)
    The papal conclave … is a process through which 115 temporary prisoners choose one among them to serve a life sentence.
    – Tom Hundley, Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2005

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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']
    Paul VI elevated him to the rank of cardinal in the consistory of June 27, 1977.
    - Biograhphy of new pope, in Asia News
 
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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:
    I was solitary before, but now my solitariness becomes complete and awesome. Hence the dizziness, the vertigo. Like a statue on a plinth - that is how I live now. Jesus also was alone on the cross. I should not seek outside help to absolve me from my duty; my duty is too plain: decide, assume every responsibility for guiding others, even when it seems illogical and perhaps absurd. And to suffer alone. Me and God. The colloquy must be full and endless.
    – 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
 
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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
    We may compare the novendial period of mourning for a pope.
    – 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'
 
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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.
    Under Hague, all things considered, the party is in good shape. Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine are now marginal figures … Chris Patten, who looked papabile a year ago … has already admitted that the game is up and Hague is boss.
    – Paul Johnson, The Spectator, Sep. 19, 1998
 
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Today's word is especially interesting in its figurative sense. The new pope used it in that sense, shorty before his election.

lapidary1. 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]
    "Follow me. The Risen Lord says these words to Peter. "Follow me" – this lapidary saying of Christ can be taken as the key to understanding the message which comes to us from the life of our late beloved Pope John Paul II.
    – Card. Joseph Ratzinger, at funeral mass of Pope John Paul II; April 8, 2005 (English rendering taken from the Vatican's site)
 
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