When it is time to elect a new pope, the cardinals are locked into the Sistine Chapel until they choose a new leader.
With the best will in the world, the Dáil is no Sistine Chapel.
But for many of us, the idea of locking the main parties into a room - and not letting them out until we see the white smoke signalling a decision - is becoming an increasingly attractive one.
We are now approaching the four-week mark since the election and the picture on the formation of the next government remains as clear as mud.
This is hardly unprecedented, of course, but in the current climate it is intolerable.
Election 2020 will be pored over by historians for decades to come.
A strangely moribund campaign by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil completely played into the hands of a vigorous Sinn Féin strategy which was ultimately so successful that even it was shocked by the result.
Having received such a scare from a party which both Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin openly despise, most of us would have expected the two leaders to have thrashed out some form of deal for a new coalition.
So far, nothing.
Under those circumstances, is it any wonder Sinn Féin enjoyed a 10-point bounce in Sunday's Behaviour and Attitudes opinion poll?
Similarly, the only surprise about both Fine Gael, down three points, and Fianna Fail, down two, is that they haven't lost even more support in the last few weeks as those who voted for them bristle with impatience, while those who didn't vote for them are entitled to play a game of 'I told you so'.
The numbers are tricky, of course. But they always are. However, between the Greens and the newly established nine-member Regional Technical Group, as well as a smattering of other Independents, there is a way.
But if there is a way, where is the will?
The main parties seem to have been struck by a truly weird form of surly apathy, and a casual observer would be forgiven for assuming the key players are actually afraid of taking the reins of power.
Varadkar ran a disastrously out-of-touch campaign, but that was nothing when compared to his behaviour and demeanour in the subsequent weeks.
Following his meeting with Martin last week, and then again on social media yesterday, he insisted that Fine Gael was "prepared to go into opposition" and the reasons behind this position remain a mystery.
There certainly seems to be an element of truculence involved, and the air of peevishness emanating from the Taoiseach and his senior lieutenants does them a great disservice.
In fact, Varadkar's most impassioned utterances since the election have been dedicated to the negative rather than the positive.
Commenting on Sinn Féin's decision to rally its troops at a series of meetings, he claimed: "These rallies are designed to be the next phase in Sinn Féin's campaign of intimidation and bullying."
It was a pointless intervention which indicated that he is still in campaign mode. But it also brought something else home - he still doesn't get it.
Sinn Féin received its record level of votes because Varadkar's regime was seen as out of touch, elitist and condescending to the people.
Fine Gael supporters who resented the 'posh boys' tag will now, however, privately admit that such an accusation actually has some weight after all.
He shouldn't care what Sinn Féin chooses to do with its time because he should be too preoccupied with forming the next government.
It also raises another issue. If both Varadkar and Martin feel - as they have repeatedly stressed - that Sinn Féin is not fit to govern, why do they seem to be doing everything in their power to usher it into government?
That Sinn Féin enjoyed that 10-point bounce to bring the party to a 35pc approval rating is proof that the average punter has become weary of the constant games being played by the two main parties.
It should also be a salutary reminder that, in the event of a second election, Sinn Féin is likely to further increase its seats from 37 to the high 40s. After all, it is widely believed it left 11 seats behind in February's election because it didn't run enough candidates.
In the event of another election, it won't make the same mistake again. Do either of the leaders want to be responsible for Sinn Féin returning from the next ballot with 46 or 47 seats?
The most charitable assessment is that Fine Gael is playing a political game but the last campaign proved it is not very good at the game.
We are hearing a lot of blather about the national interest, but the national interest is to form a government because we're currently facing down the barrels of numerous guns.
On top of the housing, homelessness and health crises, the west of Ireland is flooded. From our perspective, the new EU budget reads like a Stephen King horror story. Covid-19 has reached our shores and anxiety is growing. The impact of that virus has also wiped billions off the stock markets, which will have a massive impact on the multinationals that provide so much Irish employment.
Even worse, many economists are now predicting that we could be teetering on the precipice of yet another global recession.
Varadkar's jibes at Sinn Féin make him look like a lawyer who insists on litigating a case long after the verdict has been announced, and every time he focuses his ire in its direction, it gets another bump in the polls.
His assertion yesterday that it was up to other parties to form the next government comes across as a massive sulk and a sign of contempt for those who voted Fine Gael in the expectation that it would be in the mix when forming the next administration.
This has been a great month for Sinn Féin and throwing a huff, as Varadkar has done, only plays into its hands.
So, Leo, what's it to be? The white smoke signalling a final decision to go into government or the white flag of a man who seems determined to silently fume from the opposition benches?