Can You Wager or Bet on the Conclave?

by Steve Ray on February 26, 2013

New post on “In the Light of the Law

Betting on the conclave?
by Dr. Edward Peters


According to the (Old) Catholic Encyclopedia , in his bullum Cogit nos (21 March 1591), Pope Gregory XIV forbade under pain of excommunication all bets concerning the election of a pope, the duration of a pontificate, or the creation of new cardinals. Some folks are asking, is this still the law?

Answer: No.

Gregory’s norm was a penal provision of an older system of canon law known as the Ius Decretalium. Now, according to Canon 6, 5º of the Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, Cogit would have been abrogated on May 19, 1918. There is presently no canon law on conclave wagers.

Catholics should, of course, be mindful of the balanced view of gambling shown by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2413) and avoid conduct contrary to it.

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