Tweeting from conclave declared a cardinal sin
THERE are trying times ahead for anyone on popewatch this month, once the 100-plus cardinals disappear through the doors of the Sistine Chapel to begin the process of picking a papal winner.
For unlike every other tweeted/ Facebooked/live-streamed election in the world, there won't be a single electronic peep emanating from anyone inside the conclave.
One of the last edicts of Pope Benedict before he resigned was to put the strong arm on the smartphone set. Anyone tempted to tweet from behind the closed doors will be given the gate in no uncertain terms.
"An infraction will incur the penalty of automatic excommunication," thundered Benedict's order.
This is heavy-duty stuff, and it's unlikely any of the cardinals will risk joining the ranks of excommunicated heads such as Henry VIII and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Also, to thwart those who might still be tempted by the tweet-devil late at night, the Santa Marta residence where the cardinals will be laying their eminent heads each night is equipped with a fancy-dan electromagnetic shield that will block any sneaky signals.
This will seriously soften the coughs of nine tweeting cardinals, such as one of the short-odds favourites, Italian Gianfranco Ravasi (@CardRavasi), pictured, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture who has more than 35,400 followers and is a demon tweeter.
Likewise with one of the more controversial conclave characters, Cardinal Roger Mahony (@CardinalMahony), retired Archbishop of Los Angeles, who boarded the Twitter bus in January. When Pope Benedict resigned, he tweeted: "Am planning to be in Rome and vote for the next pope. Will be tweeting daily."
Oh, no he won't. For a few days later, he reassured his followers: "The Holy Spirit is in charge, not the media; we will be shown God's chosen one."
That's us told.