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Monday, February 18, 2013


Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of this month.  Does this mean there were 15 popes before him?  Well, no.  This is very complicated, but there have been 14 true Benedict popes, plus three antipopes.  Incredible that this was the first voluntary abdication in almost 600 years, for Christopher Columbus was born 562 years ago.  There have been 265 Popes, and the first was St. Peter, apostle of Jesus, in the year 33.  Thus there has been a pope for more than two millennia.  

But the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy is the Emperorship of Japan, beginning with Jemmu in 660 BC.  The religion is Shinto, which remains somewhat interwoven in the politics of the country today.  In Japan, succession is simple:  the next male heir.  Unlike Roman Catholicism, there  have been more abdications than deaths on the throne, and many times they were puppets or ornaments, not much unlike today.

I can imagine why Benedict  chose to retire.  Already 85, suffering from hearing loss and blind in one eye, he agonized through the advancing Parkinson's of Pope John Paul II, and was strong enough to make a final commanding decision.

So who will be selected the next Pope?  Paddypower has:

  Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana         9/4
  Archbishop Angelo Scola of Italy        3/1
  Cardinal Tarcisio Berton of Itay           5/1
  Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada       11/2
  Cardinal Shawn O'Malley of USA    33/1
  Richard Dawkins of the UK            666/1
  Bono of Ireland                              1000/1

These betting houses do have their sense of humor.  Here is a compilation of the odds.  Among them are Oprah Winfrey and Madonna (2000/1), Tony Blair (5000/1) and Lance Armstrong (10,000/1).

The College of Cardinals (maximum of 120, and there are 194 of them, but if you are older than 80, you are disqualified ... hmmm... so this still would leave 135 eligible) needs a two-thirds  plus one majority vote to elect the Pope.  If no one is elected, the ballots and notes are doused with a chemical to turn the smoke black.  They can vote four times each day.  When a Pope is selected the burn is a white smoke.  Below in 2005 when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected:

A new pope is anticipated by Easter (March 31).  In case you were wondering, that is Cardinal Peter Turkson to the left above, the current favorite to be the next Pope.    In my Chapter 5 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity on the Golden Evolution, I said:

 Strive towards a universal religion with one God. Good, the Irish Republican Army has taken that important first initial step towards reconciling the Protestant versus Catholic dilemma in Northern Ireland. The Cardinals should begin to groom a stunning, female, Chinese as a future Pope candidate. Combining all—one God, common dogma—a United Religions of the World, would be a worthy and magnificent challenge.Better yet, leap over that step and agree on no god.

I tend to take a few extreme views on issues of the day.


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