For centuries, the job of a pope was a relatively manageable affair. Candidates were largely Italian, the flock Western. One could even disappear from public, as Pope Pius XI did for a couple of years in the 1930s so people wouldn’t see that he’d been using a wheelchair. In the 13th century, the position was vacant for 31 / 2 years.
By contrast, the cardinals preparing to select a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI are seeking one whopper of a résumé. The role now calls for a spiritual figure able to inspire and unify a 1.1 billion-member global church that’s simultaneously booming and collapsing, and whose flock seems to agree on little. Management acumen is essential, Twitter fluency preferable. Hours: 24-7.