Following the soon-to-be ex-pope Benedict's move into new media by tweeting in Latin, the conclave of Cardinals have decided to modernise the election of a new pope by launching a new show "Pope Idol".
Over the course of twelve weeks, some rising stars of Catholic orthodoxy will be put through their pious paces until one lucky white eunuch will meekly accept the lowly title of "Pontifex Maximus, Vicar of Christ on Earth" and given the keys to the Vatican.
Some of the contests include:
Timed confessions: each pope-in-waiting is given 100 neurotic sinners each with ten sins to recount in excruciating detail. Will they get the magic number of "Our Fathers" and "Hail Mary's" scored by our judges or will some of them just give the same number of each just to get rid of them? Extra bonus points awarded for quiet listening without obvious snoring.
Airport Tarmac kissing: can our lucky contestants descend plane steps waving to crowds in full regalia to kiss the Tarmac without going arse over tip? The crafty monsignors introduce some tension by greasing one of the steps at random after each round.
Scandal Management: each contestant is given a list of ten priests each having been accused of sexual improprieties, embezzlement, homosexual relationships and/or child molestation and asked: how far do they move them away into other dioceses or can they follow their conscience and keep them where they are? Contestants will be eliminated if they suggest contacting the police.
Final elimination round
When the number of contestants has been whittled down to just three, the contest will move behind the walls of the Vatican for a more traditional Papal election involving prayers, wine and a special Vatican version of Risk in a battle so intense that some games have lasted years. Apparently the last four popes got elected relatively quickly when they won by gaining the Holy Trinity of Irkutsk, Yakutsk and Kamchatka.
Finally the assembled cardinals burn their special betting slips to make white smoke, before sobering up sufficiently to announce "Habemus Papem" and charged with dragging the Catholic Church fully into the 9th Century.