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pop-picking Pope

It's a vacant see.

Pope don't work there any more. Why am I reworking the lyrics of a 1978 hit by American soul group Rose Royce to describe current events at the Vatican? It's mostly because I am fond of elaborate puns. But partly because there has been a call to elect a pontiff who's got talent.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said the new Pope must be able to get the Church's message across. "You don't necessarily need a rock star, but you need someone who can talk to young people," said the 82-year-old retired bishop of Washington.

Pope Benedict started the modernisation process by opting for retirement. The Vatican administration should now consider further makeovers for the post. Like, does it have to be filled in-house? Just a thought but why not head-hunt Barack Obama. A great communicator and the first black Pope in one fell swoop.

Nit-picking traditionalists will point out that Mr Obama is not a cardinal, is married and is a Protestant. As far as I know, any Catholic, cardinal or not, may be appointed. A married Pope would be a start in doing away with that old-fashioned celibacy rule.

Let's not forget that Protestants are basically Catholics who fell out with the head office regime in Rome. A Presbyterian Pope would be a great ecumenical step forward. Yes, Mr Obama already has a job but I'm sure he could fit in being Catholic CEO with his presidential duties.

Some other changes long overdue: The Pope's working clothes. Time to put away the frocks. Especially the lacy, embroidered numbers. (Not entirely appropriate outfits for lecturing your fellow man on sexual orientation.)

Cardinals, bishops and the lower ranks should follow suit and wear suits. Unless they are Scottish and may wear the kilt. Or unless they are female cardinals, bishops and priests. Another change devoutly to be desired.

Is the Pope infallible? Probably not. But the Pope is inflatable. A Motherwell fan once took a blow-up papal doll to a match at Ibrox. It was let down by a steward.

Also, no Italian Pope this time. Nothing against Italians, but they've had their share over the centuries.

One tradition I would keep are the puffs of smoke from the Vatican during the election process. It's so much more interesting than text or email.

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