Are they really only limited to Cardinals? I am hoping an Eastern Catholic bishop gets elected. They aren't even limited to bishops. Technically, any male Catholic is eligible.
Could you link to some source for this that would stand as proof. I thought that indeed any RC male could serve but I was told by everyone today who knows what they know from the TV over the last day that only a Cardinal can be elected.
p.s. My opinion is formed by mere speculation given how I understand RC theology.
88. After his acceptance, the person elected, if he has already received episcopal ordination, is immediately Bishop of the Church of Rome, true Pope and Head of the College of Bishops. He thus acquires and can exercise full and supreme power over the universal Church.If the person elected is not already a Bishop, he shall immediately be ordained Bishop.
89. When the other formalities provided for in the Ordo Rituum Conclavis have been carried out, the Cardinal electors approach the newly-elected Pope in the prescribed manner, in order to make an act of homage and obedience. An act of thanksgiving to God is then made, after which the senior Cardinal Deacon announces to the waiting people that the election has taken place and proclaims the name of the new Pope, who immedi- ately thereafter imparts the Apostolic Blessing Urbi et Orbi from the balcony of the Vatican Basilica.
If the person elected is not already a Bishop, homage is paid to him and the announcement of his election is made only after he has been solemnly ordained Bishop.90. If the person elected resides outside Vatican City, the norms contained in the Ordo Rituum Conclavis are to be observed.
If the newly-elected Supreme Pontiff is not already a Bishop, his episcopal ordination, referred to in Nos. 88 and 89 of the present Constitution, shall be carried out according to the usage of the Church by the Dean of the College of Cardinals or, in his absence, by the Subdean or, should he too be prevented from doing so, by the senior Cardinal Bishop.http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_22021996_universi-dominici-gregis_en.html