Why is the pope always so old? (Video)

February 25, 2013

One of our favorite creators of explainer videos is C.G.P. Grey. He's out with this new and timely video explaining just how someone becomes the pope.

Spoiler alert: It's not easy! And it requires being in the right place at the right time — like much of anything in politics or professional life.

But unlike politics, becoming pope basically requires you to work your way up the ladder, step by step. The political equivalent would be advancing from local office to state office to federal office to leadership in Congress and eventually to president. While any Catholic can technically be elected pope, it's really a race between 100-plus cardinals who have spent their entire lives climbing that ladder.

That's why the average age of the new pope is generally in his 60s — which remarkably was also the case when people lived much shorter lives in 19th, 18th, 17th and even 16th centuries.


The papal conclave is expected to be held in mid-March.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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