A Conclave is no place for virtuoso Cardinals

I never thought I would say this, but I'm getting sick of the paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling

Share


I am happy to present a report today from inside the Sistine Chapel, from our very own mole. Come in, Cardinal Talpa!

I am happy to present a report today from inside the Sistine Chapel, from our very own mole. Come in, Cardinal Talpa!

Day One

This is my first time as a Cardinal Elector. I feel the weight of history on my shoulders. When we were locked in, and the mighty key turned in the mighty lock in the mighty door, I prayed to God: "Oh, God, let me choose wisely, but above all, let it not be me. Do not let me be chosen as Pope !"

An elderly cardinal said to me, as I prayed: "I would not waste time praying, if I were you. God does not have a vote. Nor does he care who is Pope. Just get out more, and meet the other voters."

It is true. I do not know all the other cardinals. As we have colour-coded lapel badges to indicate what language we speak, I singled out a cardinal who spoke Italian and English like me. "It is no use asking me to vote for you," he said. "I have already promised to vote for five other candidates. I fear I am too soft for this game."

"I do not want to have your vote," I said. "I only want to do the right thing."

"We all want to do the right thing," said Cardinal Bambazzini, which is the name on his lapel badge. "That is why we joined the Church. I have been doing the right thing for 40 years. That is why I have already promised to vote for five other candidates. All right, I will vote for you as well..."

"But I do not want to be Pope!" I said.

"That's what they all said too," he said. "By the way, do you know where the loo is? There are too many old men in here. I do not want to be another Paula Radcliffe."

I have no idea what he is talking about. I shall avoid him in future.

Later ...

I was approached by a cardinal who said it was very important that the next Pope should be Italian. Like himself.

"You would like to be Pope?" I said.

"I only want to do the right thing," said Cardinal Mezzoforte (the name on his lapel badge). "I think my policies would be wise."

"Policies?" I said, trying to think what to ask him. "So what would you do about education? Or crime? Or pensions?"

"Pensions?!" he said, rather loudly. "What need have we of pensions? To be a cardinal is pension enough!"

I shall avoid him in future.

Later...

An American cardinal approached me. I asked him if he wanted to be Pope. "Sure thing," he said. "We all want to be Pope. That's why we're here. No point signing on for the ship if you don't want to be captain one day. Vote for me, pal!"

"I am not sure we are ready for an American Pope yet," I said. "It does not seem right."

"Listen, I'm not sure we are really ready for an Italian Pope yet," he retorted. "There's nothing in the Bible about the Pope having to be Italian. Where I grew up in America, to be Italian was to be a Mafioso! To be American was top. Think about it, fellow."

In future, I shall try to avoid Cardinal Have-A- Nice-Day (the name on his lapel badge).

Later...

I never thought I would say this, but I am getting sick of the paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and I am getting a very sore neck. Some of the figures are not nice at all. That elderly cardinal I first met strolled over just now and said: "Yes, extraordinary faces some of them, aren't they ? But not half as extraordinary as some of the crazy cardinals we've got in here." and he strolled off again.

I think I would do well to avoid him. And all of them.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Wilbur, the pig who thinks he's a dog (Dom Joly)  

My hilarious pet pig Wilbur is more popular than I am — so I'll let him bring home the bacon

Dom Joly
 

Amazon's new 'payment by the page' policy will just result in longer but likely worse literature

Katy Guest
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'