Spreading the word of the Catholic Church is no small task. But this is one of the original task set to the first Pope and one that still continues on to this day. The Pope, also known as the supreme pontiff or simply the head of the Catholic Church is said to be one of the most powerful men in the world, due not only to his religious affiliation but also through his political connections.

Duties of the Pope

While the Pope does not have a job like everyone else, it is indeed a job. The Pope has been at the head of the church and the Vatican City since 1860 and has a prominent involvement in history through spreading the word of the church and of God to his political relationships. Historically, he has intervened in disputes in the church, meets the head of states and appoints new bishops.

A New Pope

The selection of a new Pope will happen only if and when the existing Pope dies or resigns. Any male who has been baptised into Catholicism is eligible to be elected as Pope, but if he is not already ordained this must be done after selection and before he is presented to the public as pope

The selection is done by the College of Cardinals, and they are locked in conclave in the Sistine Chapel until a new pope has been selected. Names are written down as well as proclaimed aloud, and then combined on a plate or a chalice. These papers are burnt in a special stove after each combined vote – if a decision has not been agreed on they are burnt with a chemical compound turning the smoke black. If an agreement has been made, they are burnt alone causing white smoke, signalling a new pope has been chosen. This smoke can be seen from St Peters Square.