There is so much misinformation and ignorance (wilful) out there with regard to the election of the new Pope that I can hardly bear to listen to a broadcast let alone read a newspaper.
And much of it, shamefully, comes from Catholic journalists and, of course, the unmentionables (the bishops).
I am heartily peeved at the constant whine of "Perhaps we will have an African Pope...." well read your history, we've had three already.
And then there's the democracy aspect. It does my liver no good at all to hear comments such as "...the Church is not behaving very democratically..."
Good. The Church was not designed to be a democracy.
Christ did not say: "Hands up all those who think that it's a good idea to go forth and teach all nations".
He did not say: "Do this in memory of Me if you agree with the principles of transubstantiation".
What He did say is: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church" - a line that is guaranteed to induce buttock clenching mode in any Protestant present when the subject comes up.
The Vatican really does need a Press (not Public) Relations Director as a secular counterpart to Fr Lombardi, the press supremo; someone who is as cunning as the media serpents and as wise as a Piazza pigeon.
One of his/her first duties might be to produce a media information pack.
Brief the press firmly and clearly and you stand a very good chance of at least ten per cent of what they state about the Catholic Church being accurate.
Here is the idiot's guide version of the Papal Election press kit:-
1. The new Holy Father will be a Catholic male.
2. The whole election process is under the control of the Holy Spirit - and no, He will not be available for photocalls.
3. Latin will be used a great deal in the days ahead - it's much better than Esperanto.
4. It is normal for all official Vatican posts to fall vacant when a new Pope is elected - think new leader, new team.
5. No, a new Pope does not mean that we will have women priests; it can't happen, please move on.
6. There will be no changes, repeat, no changes to Catholic doctrine; abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, IVF, contraception, adultery and fornication are all mortal sins and will remain so.
7. The Catholic Faithful will still be obliged to believe in the Sacraments, the Virgin birth, the Immaculate Conception, the Resurrection of the body (see The Apostle's Creed) and also that the devil exists and requires our constant vigilance in order to protect ourselves and HMC.
8. The new Pope may be a Benedict XVII or a Pious XIII or, even, a John Paul III. What he will not be is a Craig, a Del or a Jimmy.
9. There will not be two Popes; only one as normal.
10. The Catholic Church will remain the Mystical Body of Christ, the one, true Church.
In brief, normal service will be resumed as usual when you see the white smoke.