Getting ready at St. Peter’s for the papal conclave

Been on pope duty, and added a couple of profiles (Peter Turkson, Malcolm Ranjith) to our online package on the papabile. You didn’t know there was such a thing as the papabile? Neither did I until a few days ago. This is a learning experience. I thought the TV coverage of the opening of the conclave put the awe back in awesome. If you’re a Church that owns the actual Sistine Chapel, why not show it to the whole world? Message: Our art is better than your art. (And who you callin’ medieval?)

Question: If you’re a Swiss Guard, how does it feel to be dressed that way? Do you feel like a character in “The  Wizard of Oz”? Do you stand there at the entrance to the chapel thinking: I wish I were in camo? (BTW, I was a little surprised at the number of TV cameras in the chapel, and assume there were multiple camera operators scurrying around the place, which raised yet another fashion question: What do TV camera people wear at a papal conclave? All the camera guys I know wear shorts and Hawaiian shirts.)

I need to figure out how to get a chimney-cam feed on my computer so that I don’t miss out on the big announcement. [2:20 EDT update: Got white smoke but no name yet. Exciting!] The smart money is on Scola, but if he doesn’t wrap it up this afternoon (when the cardinals will have their fourth and, if necessary, fifth ballot) then it starts to get really interesting. The favorites are, in order, Scola (Italy), Scherer (Brazil) and Ouellet (Canada), though Sean O’Malley of Boston is getting some buzz. [Update: Here’s a betting site that puts Turkson just behind Scola.] [John Allen, a top Vatican reporter, has Scola, Ouellet and Scherer in his top three. Here is Allen’s roundup of the papabile.]

Here are some good links if you want to be up to speed on the conclave:

Great graphic from the Post showing the conclave’s nuts and bolts. [Almost forgot: Michelle Boorstein and I wrote a conclave preview.]

On Twitter, follow @jasondhorowitz who is, with Tony Faiola, providing a steady stream of excellent coverage from the Vatican, including this latest update that explains the “Survivor”-like alliances necessary to win election to the papacy. (Nice detail: The cardinals are all in the same hotel, and can move freely about, drinking, smoking, whatever, so no doubt there’s a lot of machinations taking place each night.) (But in a spiritual mode, of course.)

Here’s Michelle Boorstein’s profile of Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo. Palmo writes the Whispers in the Loggia blog, where he posted this overview of the conclave.

[2:47 p.m. update: You gotta admit this is pretty exciting while we wait to find out who the pope is….If it’s a North American I’ll be jumping on a plane fyi.]

[4:30 p.m. update: Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina — big surprise, a longshot, and as for our roundup of the favorites, NEVER MIND. But John Allen at NCR had the goods on him and here’s a fine profile.]


We're going to need a bigger hatbox.
We’re going to need a bigger hatbox.