With no preferiti acknowledged for this year's Papal Election, Carmalengo Mancisi, assistant to the former Pope has announced that the Vatican will modernise the process and pick the pope using a reality TV show. Mancisi outlined the concept at a press conference yesterday, "I wanna B Pope, God Help Me will be televised in 87 countries around the world and feature 12 pope-wannabees working their way through trials and temptations until only one divine winner is left. We think it will be the must-see programme of the decade."
Already networks are lining up to show IWBPGHM with anticipated viewing figures set to top the 1.2 billion record of the London 2012 Olympics. Vatican TV is partnering with reality TV specialists Endemol to ensure that the programme 'has the appropriate level of respect for the Catholic Church, Holy Fathers and Office of the Pope, while ensuring the challenges faced by the Junior Pappas will entertain as well as test their faith."
Endemol has leaked some components of the show, which will include 12 Temptations of the Pope where a dozen pole dancers will perform in front of the contenders and viewers will see their reactions measured by multiple sensors. It will also include a survival test in the wilderness and a semi-final involving crucifixion and multiple humiliations. Each week viewers will get to vote off the least convincing Junior Pappa until the public favourite is crowned Pope and the white smoke released.
First reactions from other key religious leaders have been positive so far. A leading Imam in London suggested that Islamic followers also watch the show, "I think that the prophets would be happy for Moslems around the world to join in selection of the new Pope. After all, the western world has been telling us how to run our religion for years and so now we have a chance to help them to run theirs."
Celebrity magazine 'OK' have also published a rumour that there may be a surprise contender amongst the 12 who will not actually be a man-of-the-cloth, but a cult celebrity from Hollywood, reportedly Sir Anthony Hopkins. Ladbrookes has already cut odds on the Hannibal Lector-actor down to 11-4 making him the favourite at this point.