While Dan Brown fans are intimately familiar with the details of Conclave, there are those who have not studied Robert Langdon's every clue-busting eureka moment under a microscope. For them, the AP has this handy step-by-step guide for how a new pope is chosen. Traditionally, this flowchart if followed upon the death of the Pontiff, but following today's first papal resignation since 1415, it is time to apply a little of the "New Normal" to the Catholic church as well. The only unknown after reading the below flowchart should be how Diebold will rig the Cardinal vote so that a Goldman partner is elected.
Electing a pope: conclave, oath, chimney smoke
Pope Benedict XVI's resignation sets in motion a complex sequence of events to elect the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The laws governing the selection are the same as those in force after a papal death. Here is the procedure:
— The Vatican summons a conclave of cardinals that must begin 15-20 days after Benedict's Feb. 28 resignation.
— Cardinals eligible to vote — those under age 80 — are sequestered within Vatican City and take an oath of secrecy.
— Any baptized Roman Catholic male is eligible for election as pope, but only cardinals have been selected since 1378.
— Two ballots held each morning and two each afternoon in the Sistine Chapel. A two-thirds majority is required. Benedict in 2007 reverted back to this two-thirds majority rule, reversing a 1996 decision by Pope John Paul II, who had decreed that a simple majority could be invoked after about 12 days of inconclusive voting.
— Ballots are burned after each round. Black smoke means no decision; white smoke signals that cardinals have chosen pope and he has accepted. Bells also signal the election of a pope to help avoid possible confusion over color of smoke coming from chimney of the Sistine Chapel.
— The new pope is introduced from the loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square with the words "Habemus Papam!" (Latin for "We have a pope!") and he imparts his first blessing.
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Perhaps most surprisingly, in the Paddy Power Pope Prediction list which has already been compiled for the degenerate gamblers out there, we have yet to find a former Goldmanite in the list of likely successors. What is certainly ironic, and shows the transcendence of Hopium in the New Normal, is that Paddy Power gives the odds of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini becoming pope at 200/1. Only problem: Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini is dead.