Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Of Popes and Brown (pun intended) skins!
This is kind of weirdly coincidental. I just finished plodding (yeah that’s right!) through Jai’s (God bless him for selflessly lending me everything from his prized DVDs to favourite books) copy of Angels and Demons. Dan Brown’s thriller —before Da Vinci Code became a runaway success — is a tale of intrigue set in the Vatican. The book, besides milking dry the conspiracy theory angle associated with the Freemasons and how they were infiltrated by an anti-Church, pro-Science cult called the Illuminati, gives an insider’s view of what goes on inside Christianity’s holiest site, including the ritual involved in electing the Pope.
Imagine my surprise then when I saw this PTI copy:

Asian Pope a possibility: Cardinal Toppo
Shyamal B Roy
Kolkata, Nov 24

The Roman Catholic Church has come to a stage wherein the possibility of a non-European or even an Asian Pope cannot be ruled out, Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, the first tribal in Asia to be included in the college of cardinals that elects the pope, said here today.
Fr Toppo, who as cardinal is eligible to be a candidate for the papacy, however, declined to comment whether an Asian might succeed the present Pope, John Paul-II, as head of the Catholic Church.
"There is no use speculating. The papal election is guided by the Holy Spirit."
To elect a pope, cardinals from the worldover meet at the Vatican for a week-long conclave during which they remain closeted in prayer and meditation before creating a panel of candidates. After the panel is created, pieces of paper containing the names are burnt in a stove. While the pieces of papers emitting black smoke are rejected, the candidate whose name appears on the paper that emits white smoke is made the Pope.
Over the past few centuries, popes had traditionally been Europeans, more specifically Italians, the favourites being the bishops of Milan, Naples and Genoa. A deviation was made about 25 years ago with the election of Karol Wojtyla, Bishop of Krakow, Poland, as Pope John Paul-II.

P.S. That part about the black\white smoke wasn’t there in Angels. It mentioned something about the ballot papers being burned to signal to the world that the conclave, a top-secret affair, had not yet chosen a Pope. However, the choice depending on the colour of the smoke sounds a bit iffy to me. Which means, either Brown or Roy has got his research wrong.

That's a great story. Waiting for more. film editing classes
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