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April 05, 2005

Pope wiki

Abbas has a great post at 3Quarks about Choosing a Pope in the Internet Age:

A reader of this site recently sent me an email bringing up a couple of interesting points about the process by which a new pope will soon be chosen after John Paul II, arguably the most "mediatized" pope ever (see a related post by Joi Ito on his blog here). This is the first time that a new pope is being chosen in the age of the Internet. What might this mean for the process, if anything? She writes:
The choice of the next pope--one of the most influential leaders in the world (spiritual leadership and influence over about 1 billion people)--is one of the least transparent processes around.
  • 117 people get together in the Sistine chapel to decide on the new pope.
  • 114 of the 117 were chosen by the just-deceased pope (indicating a lot of value convergence--and also a tendency towards conservatism).
  • Little is known about the candidates (most of this information is available in scattered local media). No single (as far as is obvious) source exists to share this information with the broader public.
  • The voting mechanism: 2/3 majority required, but under rules brought in by the previous pope, a simple majority can waive this rule and thereby a simple majority can vote in the next pope.
  • Now suppose someone built (a) a wiki to pool information about the candidates and (b) an online and SMS feedback system to register the global point of view.
  • If such a thing were to happen would this be a good thing for (a) the Roman Catholic church, (b) for the Christian community, (c) for the world?
[Read the whole thing]

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Comments

The voting mechanism: 2/3 majority required, but under rules brought in by the previous pope, a simple majority can waive this rule and thereby a simple majority can vote in the next pope.

Good grief, even the Vatican has the "Nuclear Option".

Thanks, Lindsay!

I don't know if it would affect the outcome, but there'd be more betting on it.

Yeah well, good luck demanding transparency from the world's largest and oldest state-free religious institution. Better to worry about what local leaders are doing to make local staff accountable for actions that are not legal than to aspire to know the rules of a secret society. I just wish the people who wanted all of this access and information flow realize how likely it is that, when they finally get to lift the veil and see what's going on, it's probably going to say FNORD.

Let's hope to see Liberation Theology revived under an African or Brazilian Pope. Somehow don't think Bush's enthusiasm for the Church will survive that.

Fat chance, Bob. Because John Paul II appointed all currently serving Cardinals but three, his successor is likely to be as anti-Liberation Theology as he was.

I thought a simple majority was allowed only after 30 ballots...

At any rate, in terms of the candidates, wikipedia has articles on 78 of 117, including all of the ones named as likely candidates. Not sure that the articles are all very good, though.

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