As the younger (over 80ies not invited) Cardinals from around the globe gather in Rome for the election of a new pope, the Catholic Church ought to consider whether a recruitment committee of 125 is likely to be the best approach. The conclave consists of: a total of 125 cardinal electors, from 51 countries. More than half of the cardinals, 67 of them, are European. Another 22 are from South America, 15 from the U.S, 11 from Africa, nine from Asia and one from Oceania. The country with the most cardinals is Italy, which accounts for 30 of them. It's followed by the U.S. which has 12. Germany and Brazil each have six cardinals. Spain has five cardinals, while France, Poland, India and Mexico have four.
In previous Conclaves the cardinals have religiously voted for an old man to ensure that there is another election in the not too distant future. Thus keeping their own electoral ambitions alive. The chart opposite give graphic detail - the majority of popes last well under 10 years. The problem of dead men's shoes is further confused by the need to select a pontiff who has the pastoral skills of St Peter with the business acumen of Bill Gates.
As if in a vision I can see appearing before me the answer to a Cardinal's prayer; An old man, humble and wise, capable of leading a vast multitude with great business acumen. When the grey of white smoke curl up the chimney from the chamber of secrets we will learn that in their unconfined wisdom they have elect the Sage of Omaha to be the next pope. Mr Buffet is obviously full if beans but does he have the time or motivation to complete one last corporate turn-round before heading off to that great hedge fund in the sky?
When I was 18 and on a gap year travelling around America I read The Final Conclave by Malachi Martin I thought it was a great book then and it probably still is - have a look at Amazon