Disclaimer: I know practically nothing about the outer workings – much less the inner ones – of the Catholic Church. What follows is rampant speculation.
New Argentine Pope, clocking in at a spry 76. Seems friendly enough, none too spastic on camera. First impression was a solid 7/10, which is high for a pope, believe me. Ratzinger won me over like a fart from a Crohn’s patient. Didn’t take five minutes after Ratzinger became pope that everyone’s whispering he’d been a member of the Hitler Youth. At least it set the bar low for the poor guy.
The new guy doesn’t have any doozies like that. Yet. Sure he’s anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, and anti-contraception – but don’t say he isn’t any fun! He likes to ride the subway to work in Buenos Aires, as if it were some chore compared to driving in the crowded the streets. Apparently we’re also supposed to know that he’s once gone about kissing the feet of AIDS patients. I don’t want to spend any more time thinking about how I feel about that than I already have – that one’s a total moral coin-toss for me. But what’s more, and I really can’t emphasize how lucky this one is: nary an allegation of diddling abounds. The guy’s clean, if the last 12 hours are anything to base it on.
So what does it all mean? As a guy who’s amazed the whole thing doesn’t implode on itself, I can truthfully say this:
Today the Catholic Church undid the Benedict Blooper by appointing a congenial and consistently smiling man, adorned in the finest cloths and be-shoed with the finest red shoes, into the top religious position on Earth. Today’s overall global aftertaste was PR neutral, and probably even a full semi-chub positive. We got a decent 90 minutes of smoke-to-pope suspense and the payoff didn’t make us all feel too stupid for watching. No gaffes, no immediate scandals, and the new guy looks like someone you might actually want to take advice from on some matters, provided such matters are in no way related to your genitals.