Mar 12, 2013 - Leah Patrous, RivertonEditor:
I have been watching the process and all the various developments on choosing the new Catholic pope, and I saw some commentators on TV making fun of how the cardinals use the chapel chimney to send out white smoke when there is a new pope.
They were saying what a funny and old-fashioned way to do it and how there is no reason to do it this way any more. It dates back many centuries.
But it made me think: Is this any weirder than the Electoral College in picking the American president? It doesn't make much sense either, does it? I had a visitor from Europe in 2008 during the presidential election campaign, and the Electoral College was a very difficult thing to explain. I don't think I did it very well.
One thing you can say about the pope, who is like the president of his small nation, is that the pope is "elected" by votes from the church cardinals if he gets the most votes.
That is not always true of the United States president. Think about it.
I find both of these processes to be very interesting but hard to explain except for tradition. We all have our strange ways of doing things when you look at them or think of how they look to other people who aren't used to them.
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