Monday, 18 April 2005

Looking forward to a smoke

Well, at least Elton John didn’t sing an adaptation of one of his songs, and now the popefest has subsided for a few days as the Vatican moves off the front pages while 115 cardinals are locked up to elect a new pope. It is, oddly, a very lengthy and complicated procedure: after all, the final choice is believed to be an expression of the will of the Holy Spirit so however the business is done the outcome must be the right one. I mean, why put this bunch of poor old redsocks through such an ordeal? Why not just draw lots or have an internet poll?

Those who would like to take some kind of interest could contact the bookmaker William Hill, who currently puts God’s rottweiler, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, at 7-2 favourite. Alternatively, they can visit the Pope-U-Lator, where they may guess who the successful candidate will be, the basis on which he will be selected, and by what name he will choose to be known. Many helpful suggestions are provided.

One thing is certain: whether you believe, as many people do, that the reign of JPII was a Good Thing or, as even more people do, that it was certainly not, it is clear that his successors will never acquire a title that trips off the tongue as his did. Once it was known that his will listed very few personal possessions, the final alliterative touch was added, and he became for all time The Popular Polish People's Pauper Pope.

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