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First new pope of the Internet Age

It's remarkable that throughout Christianity's two thousand year history only two popes have served longer than John Paul II, and that's if you count the apostle Peter. The world is a very different place from the last time we elected a pope. Much of the centuries-old rituals surrounding the transition remain intact, such as tapping the deceased pope's head three times with a golden hammer, and removing and destroying the Fisherman's Ring.

Still, it will be interesting to see how much of the inner political machinations and backstabbing we will be privy to before the final white puff of smoke goes up, and it is announced that God has chosen a new successor.

Rest assured, the politics is going on already, and probably has been for some time. Remember Francis Arinze, the Nigerian cardinal and possible "first black pope," about whom there was so much media buzz recently? It seems that he's now all but dropped off the radar screen. One wonders whether he's been sidelined already.

In any case, the whole process will be fascinating, and with any luck, the tools of the modern communication era will give us a better glimpse of it than we've ever had before.


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You think they'll do some sort of American Idol-type thing, where people call in and vote? That would be cool.

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