I don’t know why I got swept up in conclave-joke fever today, as the white smoke came from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney. I’ve been to the Vatican more times than I’ve been to a Catholic mass – that is actually true – and it doesn’t take knowing me long to gather I don’t particularly care for archaic religious traditions.
I wasn’t disappointed in the Catholic church for the outcome, but I was disappointed in myself for paying attention. Of course it was going to be an old white man. (If you argue that he’s Latino and not white and the first from the New World, think for a moment of why we use the label “Latino” and call it the “New World”…and why there are so many Catholics living there.)
I’m blessed to be irreligious and I should take pride in that by not falling for the spectacular trap of self-congratulatory, theatric rituals. Because I have decided to take up other directly meaningful things, for example, I missed out on the Oscars this year – and lived without having watched three hours of the rich, famous, and unrealistically beautiful patting themselves on the back. The envelopes are just like the Sistine chimney, and just like the conclave the Academy is old white men.
As I didn’t watch the Oscars, I didn’t complain afterwards of how much the winners didn’t deserve them, or that the losers were robbed. Immediately after Jorge Bergoglio’s ascension to the Chair of Peter was announced a wave of information and opinions flooded the internet about his scandalous past and equally out-of-date views that will not help the problems of the people of world who are still suckered into being Catholic. As important as it is for this information to be known and such influential leaders to be called on their past actions, I’m in no position of power for my opinions to do anything about it. I won’t go on righteous rants about his unsuitability for such an influential role. I don’t know enough, for one, about the Catholic church and this papacy’s other candidates, and for two it lacks any relevance to my own life to deserve any of my attention.
To my flaw, I jumped on the trend of making pope jokes between the white smoke and the announcement, but I’m done. I’ve been to St. Peter’s Basilica under Pope John Paul and under Pope Benedict, but the only difference it made to me was using the Lira to get in rather than the Euro, and the number of photos I took with what type of camera. I expect nothing to change in the short papacy of Francis the First that is to follow. And anything I say in criticism is pretty much meaningless.