The Pope’s Dead

Posted by matthew on Apr 4, 2005 in life |

It’s quite strange reading about the Pope dying just after having finished reading Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. The basis of the storyline for the book is the death of the Pope, so it goes into minute detail about the rituals associated with the election of a new Pope by the Cardinals. Quite a canny move by Brown to concoct a storyline that was likely to be of interest within the few years after it being published, you might say. Actually the more I think about Brown’s work, the more I see it as having commercial, rather than artistic, intensions. For instance, the controversy surrounding The Da Vinci Code (and no doubt Angels and Demons too) is surely welcome exposure for the publishers.

Anyway, due to the remarkable background research Brown does on his novels I know that Cardinals from around the world will now assemble in a ‘conclave’ in the Sistine Chapel in Rome to elect a new Pope. Once they enter the conclave, they can’t leave until the election has been completed. The voting rituals are quite interesting too — after an unsuccessful ballot an appointed cardinal burns the papers with chemicals to produce a black smoke that can be seen from outside. A successful ballot burns white, alerting the world that a new Pope has been appointed.

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