As Cardinals gather in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to select the next Supreme Pontiff, we’ve gathered some supremely entertaining ways to follow the secret voting process online.
Bypass lengthy news analyses and get a quick yes or no answer to “Is there white smoke?” at the Guardian’s IsThereWhiteSmoke.com. Remember, white means Pope, black means nope. There’s also IsThereAPope.com.
Americans can sign up to receive a text-message alert when white smoke billows from the Sistine Chapel chimney at PopeAlarm.com, set up by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, or FOCUS, a Catholic missionary organization. Tagline: “When the smoke goes up, you’ll know what’s going down.” The site — which cost $10,000 to build, per the Associated Press — has been inundated with more than 40,000 requests and cannot guarantee that people who register now will get a text. But you can still sign up for an e-mail alert.
If you’re looking for the news on Twitter, note that all of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s tweets on @Pontifex have been deleted, and the profile now says “Sede Vacante” (Latin for vacant seat). But you can follow the (fake) Sistine Chapel chimney at @PapalSmokeStack:
A Hail Mary
Guess the next Pope’s name via Pope Name Predictor, and you’ll be entered to win an iPad Mini (so you won’t have to covet your neighbor’s). Pope John Paul III is winning by a landslide, but if you can’t decide on one, you can click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, just like you can on Google. And instead of agreeing with “terms and conditions,” you have to agree to “pray for the next pope (whatever his name is)” — and “the contest rules.”
It must be tough to be a Cardinal today, cooped up in the Sistine Chapel, with nothing to look at but Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Adopt a Cardinal, run by CatholicVote.org, will randomly assign you a Cardinal to pray or fast for: “Pray for a short moment so the Holy Spirit may choose the right Cardinal for you, and then click the button below,” according to the website’s instructions. More than 504,000 people and counting have signed up already.