Are Popes and Chemistry Immiscible?

Well, leave it to the British to put together one of the most enjoyable exercises of the day, at least for those of us with even a few remaining molecules of Catholicism. With apologies to my calculus teacher, Sister Agnes Mary of St. Mary's High School in Rutherford, New Jersey, I present to you the UK Guardian's Pontifficator.
Choose your own pope – with our interactive Pontifficator This week, 115 cardinals will be secreted in the Sistine Chapel to select one of their number as the next head of the Catholic church. You can't get in to see them but you can use our interactive to explore their views on issues from contraception to relations with other faiths, peruse their CVs, and choose the man you think is best qualified for the job. Tap the pictures to read more about the candidates. There's a note on how we categorised them here
Honduran chemistry and physics prof. Credit: The Guardian

Honduran chemistry and physics prof. Credit: The Guardian

Finding a pontiff who meets all of one's criteria is tougher than finding an apartment in New York City. But my selection ended up being Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras), Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga. The clincher? Of the 10 academic candidates, he's taught chemistry and physics. Of course, I'm not keen on his rating for handling the sex abuse scandals in the church and, shockingly, his agreement with the current pope that condoms will not prevent the global HIV/AIDS crisis. Umm, I don't know what kind of chemistry and physics he taught. So if I still were a churchgoer, I'd have to pass on Rodríguez Maradiaga. Italy's "tech-savvy" Gianfranco Ravasi is notable for having hosted the 2009 Vatican conference on evolution. But something tells me that this time won't break the latest string of non-Italian popes. For those of you interested in the outcome of the papal conclave, who are your favorites? I'm hoping it's someone from South America or Africa.

Author: David Kroll

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  1. With apologies to my high school principal, the Rev. Msgr. Kieran McHugh of Pope John XXIII High School, the Pontifficator is AMAZING. Almost as amazing as the Pope Bracket, where you can find out who will emerge from the Sweet Sistine.

  2. By choosing a name no pope had chosen before, he may be signaling an era of rebirth for a church troubled by corruption and a sexual abuse crisis.