A conclave of old white men, mostly of northern European descent, is gathering in black dresses and red hats in an ancient Italian city to elect one of their own to head the world’s largest not-for-profit conglomerate. Their candidate will follow another old white man who is being permitted to continue to wear what were the prerogatives of his elected status, white outfits, at his palatial retirement apartments and gardens. The retiree will be known as Emeritus Pontiff. Nothing in that title indicates that he did the job well, only that he did it.
The name for this retiree, the first of his kind in almost 700 years, gives a clue to the relevance of the red-capped gathering. They speak Latin, although it has been a dead language for centuries, as well as any number of local dialects.
What they apparently are not fluent in is the language of the ordinary person, the person who thinks pedophilia is and should be a crime and that one accused of being a pedophile should be investigated and prosecuted if evidence warrants. This oddly clothed conclave have all taken vows of sexual celibacy, so you would think that knowing that others in their ranks are sexual perverts would raise concern. It has raised concern. They have conspired together to protect the perverts among them and to care more about the blemishes on the face of their institution than they do the lives of thousands of the victims of their perverted brethren.
As a part of their elaborate public costumes, each of these men wears, centered on his chest, suspended by a fine chain, a well-crafted image, probably in silver, of a man hanging crucified. This image represents one whom they all worship and who is reported to have been executed because of the threat of his behavior and teachings to the religious and political powers of his era. These men have obviously let something of their homage fade from their memories since their very existence as a group is premised upon institutional power.
Sometime during the next month or so, this conclave will gather solemnly, after intrigues one can only imagine, to vote on the old retiree’s successor. At the conclusion of each failed vote they will burn their ballots and tamper with the burning so that a puff of black smoke will issue from the chimney of their sealed rooms. When they vote successfully to elect a successor to Emeritus Pontif, the smoke will be tampered with to produce a white puff. Someone will then announce to the gathered crowd: Habemus Papum.
I conclude from all this spectacle that someone is trying to blow smoke up someone’s ass.