The holder of the the Papacy is known as the Pope. Without Sons of Abraham DLC the Papacy uses Open Elective succession (upon the death of the incumbent the title passes to a randomly generated character). With Sons of Abraham DLC the Papacy uses the unique Papal Elective succession law.
College of Cardinals (requires Sons of Abraham DLC) - There exists a college which comprises 9 cardinals. Cardinals are appointed by the Pope from among the clergy of Catholic Europe. Candidates with greater piety, greater age, greater learning, virtuous traits, secular power, favourable relations with the Pope, and the current culture of Rome/The Pope are preferred. Candidates are immediately appointed upon the death of a cardinal or upon the accession of one of the nine to the Papacy. Secular rulers can assign money to the campaign fund of the most promising cardinal candidate in their realm, thus making this vassal bishop more likely to be made into a cardinal.
Papal Elective Succession (requires Sons of Abraham DLC) - Upon the death of the Holy Father, a new Pope is elected from the College of Cardinals by the College of Cardinals. Papal candidates are judged on the same criteria used for the appointment of new cardinals. At any given point there exists a Preferatus, or cardinal who is most likely to accede. There is an element of chance in the Papal Election and the Preferatus does not always accede.
The Papacy • The Fraticelli Papacy • The Ecumenical Patriarchate • The Paulician Patriarchate • The Monothelite Patriarchate • The Iconoclast Patriarchate • The Miaphysite Papacy • The Monophysite Papacy • The Patriarchate of the East