Questions everyone else is asking
Answers no one else is giving.
What will the next pope do?
All sorts of things, I reckon. The one specific thing I am certain whoever emerges as Pope will do is continue the post-conciliar papal tradition of not asking me what to do.
What should the next pope do?
Pray. Fast. Give alms. Confirm his brethren in the faith. The Wednesday Angelus talks seem to be a big hit with the locals.
What would I do if I were the next pope?
Spend the weekend in Castel Gandolfo with my wife, trying my luck with the wine cellar, then read the resignation speech they wrote for me.
What are my hopes for the next pope?
I hope he likes pasta. They eat a lot of pasta in Rome, I think.
Who will be the next pope?
This is the only one of these questions I have been asked personally, and I am asked it by my children every time the conclave, or the resignation, is mentioned in our house. I have been asked it so often I'm beginning to wonder what it is my children think I do for a living.
I don't know the answer, of course, and neither does anyone else. But if he turns out to be an Italian, we'll be able to recast a knee-slapper from 1978:
A man is stranded on a desert island for six years, then rescued. As they're flying him back home, he asks what he's missed. One of his rescuers says, "Well, the President of the United States is a black man."
"Yeah, right," the man answers. "And I suppose the Pope is Italian."