So Pope Benedict had a big retirement bash, waved goodbye from the helicopter door just like Dick Nixon, and flew off to the Castel Gandolfo Senior Sunset Community with his scrap book. The Pontiff Emeritus has traded the Papal Throne for an easy chair and his red shoes for golf shoes. Now it’s time to play Pick-A-Pope.
So just how is a Pope chosen, anyhow? With the recent rule changes of 1295 and 1975, it’s simple. 115 un-disgraced cardinals under the age of 80, including the “Pope-able” favorites, all file into the Sistine Chapel and the doors are locked. This secret Papal Conclave is the slow, theological equivalent of a Steel Cage Death Match and works like a mash-up of Roller Derby, Musical Chairs, and Survivor: Holy See. There are elements of American Idol but not many, since the Bible forbids Idolatry, and that’s kind of a sore point with Roman Catholics.
Anyway, the field of Pope prospects is narrowed down to the Sweet Sistine finalists of the March Madness Pray-Offs, and office betting pools go mad waiting for that puff of white smoke. The ultimate decision is made by the Holy Spirit, as determined by a two-thirds super-majority vote of the Conclave and validated by
PricewaterhouseCooper three cardinal Scrutatore (“scrutineers”).
The home audience can’t text to support favorite
contestants candidates, but the University of Montreal’s André Blais gives you a chance to Vote For Pope. Vatican voting wonks can see how their favorites would do under election systems from around the world (read about it here).
UPDATE: Adopt a Cardinal!
Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-g3f
Image (“Paula Abdul Joins the Papal Conclave Panel”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
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