Wednesday, 13 March 2013


According to bookies, the front runner for the job of absolute ruler of the world's smallest country, and as Vicar of Christ and leader of the world's one billion plus Roman Catholics is the Italian Cardinal, Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan who is 71. Apparently (although I don't know how anyone would know) he received 50 votes of the 77 which are needed to clinch the job in the first round of voting. 

Other contenders are supposedly Brazilian Odillo Sherer, Archbishop of São Paulo , who is 63;  Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, also 63, and Marc Ouellet, from Québec, who is 69. They are rumoured to have received between 10 and 15 votes each.

One cardinal who isn't counting on getting the top job and moving to the Vatican any time soon is Roger Mahoney, whose ex-diocese of Los Angeles has just paid out $10 million in compensation for child abuse, all carried out by a priest whom Mahoney allowed to continue working with children, despite his knowing about the man's predilection for children. 

I reckon that had I been Mahoney, as well as retiring from overseeing my See, I would have declined to take part in the Conclave, [from which in any case, I would have thought him barred, due to his age (77)!]

Given the size of the Catholic population across the world, the influence that the Pope has in so many countries and the horrific recent history of child abuse and corruption, in particular in the Curia, the administrative heart of the Vatican City and the Church, (the reason many say that Pope (Emeritus) Benedictus XVI stood down) the choice of Pope is important to everyone, not just to Roman Catholics.

There are those who favour a return to an Italian Pope for the first time since 1978; but there are those who say that it would be more sensible to have a Pope from part of the world where the Church is growing, rather than one where it is in decline. Thus  African and South American candidates have been mentioned as possibilities for the first time. Some say the new Pope should be a preacher, some say an academic, some an administrator and tough manager. 

There will of course be many who remember that in 1978 there was a Pope who, it was rumoured, was shocked with the unholy doings of the Vatican Bank and allegedly had plans to investigate it. He died after 33 days in the papacy. 

I wondered if any of you have any ideas about who the next Pope should be and why. 


  1. Did Tony Blair not convert to Catholicism?

    As for why? I think he'd enjoy the outfits.


  2. I know I said the Vatican was corrupt, Pa, but there's a limit, even for them.

    The outfits under Von Smallhausen seem to have become more colourful, garish really, green and gold and red... maybe he was auditioning for a part as Joseph in that Lloyd Webber thingy. I'm not sure how Blair would look, but certainly, if I were head of the Swiss Guard, I'd be watching him closely!

  3. A black pope might be interesting but don't really care as it's a cult anyway and I am a christian.


  4. That hat should be put on top of the chimney.

  5. LOL Bruce. Yes, a black pope would be interesting.

  6. Good use for it CH, but the smoke would go back down into the chapel and suffocate all the cardinals... and what would we do then?

  7. How about Robbie Coltraine, I understand he has some experience.

    1. Ah, but experience of what, Pa?

  8. Obviously the new pope should be an American. Surely it's long past time for an American to run the church. After all, the NATO commander is an American general. Why shouldn't an American Cardinal run things at the Vatican? Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, would probably be the best choice since Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles has been relieved of his duties in California for not reporting sex abuse. But that wouldn't actually disqualify him as pope of course.

    I see we now have white smoke. The Vatican could install an electronic signaling device and burn the ballots in a secure industrial incinerator. But instead, they carry a portable metal stove into the Sistine Chapel, adorned with the most important Michelangelo frescoes on earth, and have cardinals who have never built or tended a fire, and who wear long flowing robes, burn piles of paper. Now what could POSSIBLY go wrong with that?

    1. I'm actually amazed that the Pope has never been an American. They seem to think you can't have a superpower Pope, but he gives up his nationality and becomes Vaticanian on appointment so, he wouldn't be.

      I thought that cardinals had to stop voting after 75, but it appears that, according to Wikipedia it is 80 and has been since 1970, so the wide boy from Los Angeles is indeed within his rights to be there...legally, if not morally.

      Interesting, Danny, that you mention Dolan's "cardinal" sin not disqualifying him from the papacy. The last Pope was guilty of the exact same crime, and it didn't seem to do him any harm. I wonder if there are any that aren't.

      It's funny you should mention the worry of the cardinals burning down the Sistine, I was watching the news tonight and thinking... they only have 115 papers to burn, and that smoke was going on and on and on.... and I started to think... has one of the daft old souls had a dizzy turn next to the stove.

      And did you ever see such a chimney...? Talk about contrasts.

    2. They probably drilled a hole in the ceiling (maybe through God's nose) to push the sheet metal stove pipe through.

      I read an article about the fact that the white smoke/black smoke signal never really works. So they actually put in a second stove as a smoke producer, and used special chemicals in it to make tons of smoke.....coal black or pure white.

      SO much better than a simple electronic signal!!! HA!! Someday these clowns in the red dresses are going to destroy those frescoes.

    3. Yes, I heard the wet straw thing isn't actually any good at all... smoke and mirrors Danny.

  9. Danny
    An American pope God forbid celibacy would be out the window(British expression meaning GONE) and being a gun carrying gay/bisexual would be compulsory.
    Their first act as pope would be to invade south America to confiscate all drugs
    for their personal use.

    the Sistine Chapel would be converted to a swingers bar and lap dancing club
    no we dont want an American pope do we?

  10. Hey Niko, I like your view of an American Papacy. Sounds right to me! The College of Cardinals should certainly be required to carry sidearms.

    At least they got the job done without burning down the Sistine Chapel. I always worry about that.

  11. The new one wont be very welcome in the Falklands.

  12. On the Pope issue......Not sure if these links will open in Scotland, but if they do:

    When David Cameron was in New York a while back, he appeared on the David Letterman show. This guy is borderline crazy, and very popular. (Letterman I mean.)

    Here's one of Letterman's famous "Top Ten" lists:

    And here's last night's "Conclave 2013" report, which included a call to Rome. Dave was able to contact the conclave and get a report from Cardinal Scola:

  13. They didn't come up Danny. So here they are.

    Pay Pal Papal.... very good!

    David Cameron borderline mad? Hmmmm If only he were only borderline!

  14. CH...

    David Cameron will be hopping mad at the choice.

    He's usually first out to talk to new leaders, trying to make it before the French, but I'm not sure he'll be rushing to talk to the Argentinian!

    1. The Pope on the Falklands: Don’t de-Malvinise history!

      "“We come to pray for all who have fallen, sons of the Homeland who went out to defend their mother, the Homeland, and to reclaim what is theirs, that is of the Homeland, and it was usurped,” he claimed in a mass at the metropolitan cathedral, 30 years on from the violent conflict with Great Britain."

  15. Tried to post the links repeatedly. But they would show up and then disappear. So they actually came through?

  16. Niko: You're bang ion right. The streets of the Vatican are dodgy at night when you are on your way back from ...well whatever Cardinals go to.

    Talking of which, the Vatican owns a building (and some senior people live in it, including a cardinal in an 18 room apartment ...18 ROOMS????) and in the basement apparently there is a gay sauna.

    You couldn't make that sort of stuff up.

  17. Danny, they came through on my I posted them for you.

  18. Added a cartoon on the subject of white and black smoke!

  19. Tris....Love the cartoon about the smoke! The smoke signal is SO stupid in modern times, where a simple electronic signal would work so much better. But people love the smoke schtick from that crazy little stove pipe so much that they would miss it.

  20. It's a bit like the voting system in Westminster, both in the Commons and in the House of Aristos. Instead of pressing a button to vote, like probably everywhere else in the world, these people have to get up and trail to a set of rooms, called lobbies, where they are counted in by the "whips".

    (Whips, just to remind them of good old school days.)

    In the Lords so many of them are old and decrepit that I wonder they manage to get across the chamber to the lobby.

    Still, I hear that we are about to be landed with a bill for BILLIONS to do up the Palace of Westminster. I wonder if they will think about dragging it out of the 16th century.

  21. Tris...

    This article describes how the church (presumably with the help of God) has never been able to make the smoke signal actually work very well. Funny!

  22. Perhaps we should encourage our MPs to use smoke to vote with. As they seem to spend a great deal of time in the many and various bars in the building, they would almost certainly end up setting the place on fire.

    Indeed amongst their number in the House of Peers is a man who enjoyed a little time as a guest of his sovereign in one of her prisons for setting an hotel on fire when they refused to allow him any more alcohol.

    Such is the standard of the aristocracy in the United kingdom. And worst of all, he's Scottish.

  23. I was appalled by the huge billows of coal black smoke from that pipe. After reading this article, I wondered how much of it belched out from the stoves into the chapel, and when they'll need to clean the paintings again. LOL.

    We have electronic voting in the House of Representatives, but in the Senate, (derisively called the "House of Lords" by members of the House,) the voting is still by a formal roll call of the Senators in the chamber.

  24. What an exciting life you guy lead in watching a chimney smoke. My neighbour has a peat fire so I'm away to see what all the excitement is about? More later!

  25. That should read "guys" but who cares?

  26. My only bet on the papal race was £3 (at 44-1) yesterday morning on one of the 2 Argentinian Cardinals to be elected Pope-unfortunately I chose the wrong one :-)

    It also looks to me that in spite of all the oath swearing not to reveal what happens in the conclave someone must have been leaking that an Argentinian was in the running as within a few hours of getting my 44-1, the odds had reduced to 11-1-just saying :-)

  27. I had no idea, Danny, that you still had that antiquated system. The things people do to waste time! Mind you, there are only 100 Senators. There are about 1,000 lards!

    I often thought that Westminster should have the stove like the Vatican. Given their incompetence, I reckon it wouldn't take more that a couple of months before the whole thing was ashes.

    Now wouldn't that be a shame.

  28. John: I'm often struck (as you can imagine)...

    ...Also, I have often noticed similarities between life in the islands and life in the Vatican. And here we have one more similarity.

    Isn't it amazing. Do you Wee Frees also elect your leaders?

  29. JPJ2:

    That's rotten bad luck.

    You reckon one of these cool cardinals had taken in a smart phone and Tweeted the trending of the votes?

    They only chose an Argentinian to wrong-foot David Cameron and Munguin's Republic (because we had predicted the election of the Cardinal of Milan, who must now be fizzing!)

    I wonder why they wanted to wrong-foot Cameron... Nah, only joking, I'm not.

    BTW, nice to see you here. I don't remember you commenting on MR before... or at least not for a very long time!

  30. I think you've got to be over 99 to get a vote on wee free leaders so I've a couple of years still to go. Poor Cardinal of Milan, still where there's smoke there's fizz.

  31. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK, John. I think when the time comes, you should elect Niko. Not that he'd be any good, but at least it would give him Mrs Niko and Taz a bit of peace and quiet.