How many Cardinals does it take to change a light bulb? The traditional answer used to be: ‘Did you say CHANGE?!!!’. But time passes and the game of stacking the college with the like-minded is as irresistible to a Pope as to a Prime Minister stacking the Lords. The new appointments seem, indeed, a little like a PM’s resignation honours list.
Nothing now surprises. Soon it will be obligatory for each Pope to canonise his predecessor. You can’t have too many papal saints, after all! But better sanctification, some would say, than a Presidential Library and Museum somewhere in California (or any place else).
The Holy See more and more comes to resemble other elective offices – with the modest exception that the scramble for photo-opportunities takes place after, rather than before the election.
How one longs for the Good Old Days of the ‘Prisoner in the Vatican’. Nothing becomes a Pope more than reticence.