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Smoke Signals From A Chimney ©

Hamish M Anstruther
Scotland
2005
The bells peeled out at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City on the evening of Tuesday, 19th April 2005. They were chiming to the world that a new Pope had been elected in the first papal conclave of the new millennium.

After the death of Pope John Paul II, the German Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger, was elected as his successor. He would be known as Pope Benedict XVI.

For a moment the faithful held their breath
Uplifted eyes glazed with confusion
A wisp of smoke mixed with black and white
Conspired to challenge their devotion

Could this signal a drift to America--
Where most of the devout throng assemble?
Or to the brave new world of Africa--
Would that be too much of a gamble?

Those old Cardinals sworn to secrecy
Cloister'd in the Sistine Chapel conclave
Set off a commotion in the media,
But some thought their decision very brave

They chose the German, Joseph Ratzinger
Of anachronistic orthodoxy
To be Pope Benedict the XVI
After John Paul's popular papacy

Now he's guardian midst a blacker smoke--
Like the world's moral relativism;
Contraception; and women in the church;
Abuse by priests - the worst cataclysm!

And what of the bold 'riformisti' group
Favouring a pope from the global south?
This made the cardinals much too nervous
Behind European Catholic 'truth'

Still the faithful wave their Vatican flags
The crowds still loudly chant: "Long live the Pope!"
Their voices rising: "Viva il Papa!"
And their souls choked with eternal hope!



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