Or at least as clean as humanly possible.
A conflagration in the conclave
Members of the conclave will send a big puff of white smoke up the chimney of the Sistine Chapel once they've finally picked their guy and he agrees to accept the post and formally chooses a name.
Five days or so is usually the norm for completing this sacred ritual, but, with the new job description more demanding than ever and expectations harder than ever to live up to, the skies over Rome could become absolutely polluted before this conclave is able to fill the vacancy.
Adding to all the uncertainty, the depth of theocratic corruption as well as Benedict's own possible involvement still remains rather fuzzy issues, what with the ever growing list of priestly perpetrators and their ungodly offenses now reaching a level that could only best be described as mindboggling.
It can't get much worse for an already floundering church than to be perceived as teeming to its ancient rafters with nothing but evildoers and sinnersÂ…except to suddenly find itself completely leaderless.
It's a dirty job but someone has to do it
With things hanging in the air of late, it's hard to say if anyone's truly looking forward to filling Benedict's shoes. After all, it isn't exactly wiping the slate cleanÂ—every dark deed done will be inherited, and each will have to be addressed and redressed ASAP.
That won't be an easy or cheap task to accomplish, eitherÂ—the bill for paying off just one class-action lawsuit for child abuse recently came to ten-million dollars; not mentioning the astronomical legal fees that were racked up in a vain effort to defend the claim.
Modern day controversies aside, though, one way or another the papacy has dirtied its hands all throughout history. Typically by allying itself with brutal kings waging bloody land grabs, or, in more recent memory, infamous dictators hell bent on genocide.
Sex scandals and financial foul play may seem tame in comparison, as far as the leadership is concerned, but in the eyes of their faithful followers it's all the same. Maybe even a bit more vile.
Who wants the job?
In the race to replace, some of the main contenders include Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, and America's Cardinal Timothy Dolan, although, as can be seen, no one's quite got the deal sealed yet.
Whatever their qualifications are that have made them the frontrunners this time around, one thing is a surety: staying ahead of the never ending flow of disturbing allegations concerning past wrongdoing of the highest order is going be job number one for the number one man.
That means, whoever it is that's ultimately appointed to take command and lead the sheep back into the flock, he better be in good shape, untarnished, and truly God-fearing.
Or else assembling the conclave to select a new pope will become an annual event.
Illustration by Eponymous RoxEND AKISMET -->
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