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Ordinarium Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae

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Ordinarium Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae is a document written by Jacobi Gaytani that furthered the development of the papal conclave by establishing a voting procedure currently referred to as "approval voting".[1] The document is notable in that it is not a papal bull or decree but was treated as law by subsequent papal elections.[1]

Gaytani (a participant in five papal conclaves between 1305 and 1352) included no restriction on the number of candidates a cardinal could include on his ballot during a scrutiny, but advised not to choose too many "for decency and expediency".[1] The combination of approval voting with the pre-existing requirement of a two-thirds supermajority has several "bizarre consequences"; for example, it can result in more than one candidate receiving a supermajority even if only one third of the electorate chooses more than one candidate.[1]

Each round of voting was also treated as distinct; that is candidates remained eligible in all future scrutinies even if they had not received a single vote previously.[1]

Approval voting was used in the forty-one conclaves from 1294 to 1621, after which it was replaced with a categoric vote by Eterni Pacis (1621) and Decet Romanum Pontificem (1622).[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Josep M. Colomer and Iain McLean. (1998). "Electing Popes: Approval Balloting and Qualified-Majority Rule". The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 1-22.

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