Give Francis A Chancis!

It didn’t take long for the media to dig up some dirt on Cardinal Bergoglio and why we should worry about his leadership in the Catholic Church. (For my own part, I wrote about his basic credentials on Friendly Atheist yesterday.)

First, his comments on homosexuality were vastly disseminated as if everyone thought there was a possible pro-gay candidate in the lot. “Same bigotry, different bigot,” they said.

Then, some people discovered that he collaborated with some sketchy fascist causes in his home country of Argentina, and the Hitler Youth comparisons started coming out all over again.

I’m not worried. I still think Pope Francis is a reasonably decent outcome.

Newly-elected Pope Francis smiles shyly and waves to the crowd.

Image via Voxxi.

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#ConclaveLulz: The Second Day

It’s a good thing they elected a pontiff today, or else that darn seagull perched on the Vatican chimney would have been the star of the show.

A Tweet with a picture of a seagull on top of the Vatican chimney. Archbishop Cranmer says "All these gull-phobes are bigoted and discriminatory. It's avian ecumenism."Jonathan Lopez Romo says "Everybody talks about the cardinals, but it's really the gulls that make it happen." Continue reading

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Conclave Coverage: Pope Fiction

A new phenomenon has appeared in the Twitter coverage of the papal conclave: #ReplaceMovieTitlesWithPope. Some of my favourites:

Malcolm says, "Replace movie titles with Pope: Pope (Jaws), Pope (Signs), Pope (Scarface), Pope (Seven), Pope (Sinister), Pope (Saw), Pope (Babe), Pope (Rocky)"

  • Alien versus Pope
  • Any Given Pope
  • Apopecalypse Now (I guess that one’s for the prophecies of St. Malachy)
  • Bonfire of the Popes
  • Cardinals of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pope
  • Cardinal Strangelove, or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Pope
  • Despicable Pope
  • Dude, Where’s My Pope?
  • Full Metal Pope
  • How to Train Your Pope
  • Inglorious Popes
  • Iron Pope
  • Jurassic Pope
  • Kinky Popes
  • Night of the Living Pope
  • Pope II: Electric Bugaloo
  • Pope-ahontas
  • The Pope Always Rings Twice
  • A Pope Called Wanda
  • Pope Fiction
  • Pope Floats
  • Pope Interrupted
  • A Pope To Remember
  • The Pope Wears Prada
  • The Pope Who Loved Me
  • The Pope With the Golden Nun
  • The Return of the Pope
  • The Skeleton Pope
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#ConclaveLulz: The First Day

A lighthearted look at the day’s finest conclave reporting, replete with pop-culture references and riffs on the intersection between historic traditions and the modern world.

Tweet from British GQ: "Overheard at the papal conclave - do the loafers only come in red?"


Minky Belle Reve says: "What if the way they choose the pope is 'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock'?"

Sir Bob says: "You know when the doors are locked they release balloons from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel."

JS Twiss says, "Electors to consider binders full of cardinals as conclave begins."

Christof says, "All of press in Rome for the conclave. Later on pilgrims. Was papal resignation an elaborate ploy to stimulate Italian economy?"

Stefan Becket says, "Funniest pope: Hilarius, 461-468"

Jedi PR says "So Sith lords will enter the Sith-tine Chapel for a conclave to elect a new emperor. Look for smoke from a small thermal exhaust port soon."

James Harrison says "I'm going to have a conclave to decide what to have for dinner. White smoke for baked ziti, black smoke for burnt baked ziti."

Alison Rose says, "This whole 'everyone waiting around on the conclave' thing reminds me of merry and Pippin waiting for the Ents to discuss going to war."

Drew Thornley says, "If I got a vote, it would go to Cesare Borgia."

March 20th says, "Dan Brown, I hope you and Professor Robert are in Rome - signed, a fan."


Heather Eure says, "To the Pope Tributes: may the odds be ever in your favour."


Buzz Meat says, "The first rule of conclave is, you don't talk about conclave. The second rule of conclave is, you don't talk about conclave."

God says, "Big popin' spending G's, Big popin' in ya diocese."

Dowager Pontiff says, "Fun fact: Adele and Hugh Jackman won the first two votes at conclave."

Troll Cat says, "Hope the Vatican isn't divided between supporters of New Pope and Pope Classic."

God says, "Remember: white smoke equals pope. Black smoke equals no pope. Sweet smoke equals barbecue break."Linz Loves says ,"This whole black smoke/white smoke thing is soooo dramatic. Can't they just be normal and tweet when they've reached a decision?"


LaKendrus says, "Black smoke rises from Vatican where conclave held, meaning no pope elected in first ballot. Or they were like, 'Smores, y'all!'"

Lisa Mindelle says, "Is it just me, or does Conclave sound like a great name for a trendy NYC bar?"

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Conclave Coverage: Pick A Pope with The Guardian’s Pontifficator

The Guardian put together a simple web-based program to select who you would most like to see made pope, based on a pre-selected list of criteria like age, pre-papal career, views on contraception, and handling of child abuse scandals. It doesn’t necessarily cover everything a conclave-watcher might care about, like sexism or freedom of conscience or attitudes toward the Latin Mass . . . but it’s a good start.

For the record, the Pontifficator says the pope who would suit me best is Cardinal Luis Tagle of the Philippines.

A prayer card featuring Cardinal Tagle on the occasion of his elevation to his position as archbishop of Manila. He wears fuchsia robes. The card depicts his coat of arms and reads "Deo Gratias! Welcome and warm wishes to Most Reverend Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila - Installation December 12, 2011, Manila Cathedral"

Image via RainCheck.

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Conclave Coverage: Pink Smoke Protest

A wisp of pink smoke rising.

Image via 123 RF.

White smoke means habemus papem. Black smoke means the cardinals will need to vote again. And pink smoke? Means that the Church needs to let go of its centuries-old misogyny and give women a voice in the lived experience of Catholic religion.

Check out Benedictine nun Joan Chittister on CBC’s The Current this morning, talking about the Church’s need to modernize. Or take a look at this documentary about women’s participation in the Church, Pink Smoke Over the Vatican. Or keep an eye out for a possible protest in Rome during conclave, in which advoctes for women’s ordination intend to let off a burst of pink smoke

“During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI used his power to take significant steps backwards for women. The current old boys club has left our church reeling from scandal, abuse, sexism, and oppression. The newly elected pope will have a profound opportunity to offer healing to our broken Church,” says Erin Saiz Hanna, spokesperson and executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, which calls itself “a voice for women in the Catholic Church”.

I remember being a Catholic woman. Believe me, they could use a voice.

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Oops! Cardinals Share A Building With Europe’s Largest Gay Sauna

You guys, the optics on this are not great.

Actually, no. They’re fantastic. They’re hilarious. You guys are great.

It turns out that some cardinals are staying in a Roman apartment block that also houses Europe’s biggest gay sauna, Europa Multiclub. Needless to say, this is probably the worst way to dispel rumours of a gay Vatican cabal.

The interior of Europa Multiclub in Rome, with a nude male silhouette in the foreground, with a towel-clad man in the background observing.

Image via Homochic.

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When Even Catholics Aren’t

A poll released by the New York Times and CBS News has a few interesting things to say about how ordinary Catholics are thinking. And while there are certainly caveats to apply about statistical sampling and suchlike, the idea that the Church hierarchy is increasingly at odds with the beliefs of the faithful is alive and well.

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Sarcastic About Survivors

Mundabor – a blogger who believes strongly in Catholicism Without Compromise (TM) – is angry at SNAP (the Survivors’ Network for those Abused by Priests). Really, really angry.

A horned demonic-looking thing surrounded by fire.

Image via Villains Wiki.

They haven’t really done anything wrong: just participated in the conclave guessing game that’s all over the ‘Net right now, naming the papabili they would most like to see elected. (The “least worst” candidates, they called them.) Their favourites:

They’ve also listed their “Dirty Dozen” – the candidates they think would be worst for children in the Church. Mundabor notes with glee – and I’m afraid I have to concur – that all the most popeable cardinals are on SNAP’s naughty list. (Check out my news article on their choices at Friendly Atheist.)
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Adopt A Cardinal!

This is loads of fun. This is the most fun I’ve had since Betty Bowers’ Conclave Kiki video. You can adopt a papabile to pray for during the conclave!

Once you enter your name and e-mail address, the site – er, I mean, the Holy Spirit – will randomly choose the Cardinal that it (he? she?) wishes you to pray for. (To be fair, though I used the real Popeable Sock Puppet e-mail address, I hedged my bets and used my cat’s name instead of my own. You can’t be too safe on these crazy Interwebz.)

The Holy Spirit sure has a great sense of humour. Either that, or it/he/she/zhe has read my article on Friendly Atheist, where I said that if I still prayed, I’d probably pray for Gianfranco Ravasi – he seems the most open to freedom-of-conscience and separation of church and state, plus he really likes science.

And now he’s officially my own adopted cardinal.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi amid ornately-woven palm fronds on Palm Sunday.

Image via NBC News.

If you decide to adopt a cardinal of your own, let me know who you get in the comments!



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