As someone that is at a spiritual crossroad, the question of whether a Black Pope would be appointed left me cold. Personally, I don't see the conclave of potential popes picking a dark Nigerian, although qualified, to lead the world's Catholics. Here are some interesting articles on the possibilities.
Deciding who will be Pope is a very old and respected tradition.
The system has been in place, with minor variations, for several centuries: Nine days of mourning and funeral masses follow the pope’s death, and he is interred
generally on the fourth or fifth day. No sooner than 15 days after the pope’s
death and no later than 20 days post-mortem (to allow time for far-flung
cardinals to arrive) all of the cardinals under 80 years old will convene. The
number of cardinal-electors is 117.
Choosing the Pope's Successor:
1) When the Pope dies, a group within the
2) Of the 184 cardinals, only 120 are currently eligible to vote for the next pope.
3) The 120 cardinals pledge to perform their solemn duty.
4) The cardinals then pick a 9 person committee to handle election duties:
3 cardinals will collect the ballots 3 others will count the votes 3 others will review the results and make sure the decision is firm.
5) The cardinals then write down who among them they would like to see become the next pope.
6) If there's no winner on the first election, another election is held. If there still is no winner, an afternoon election is held followed by another if no winner is determined. And so on.
7) After each election where a pope has not been elected, the ballots are burned with a chemical that produces black smoke. This is how the public knows if a pope has been elected or not.
8) If a pope has been elected, the ballots are burned alone producing white smoke.
9) The winner is the cardinal that receives two-thirds plus one of the votes, or 81 votes in the case of 120 cardinal electors.
10) The winner is asked if he is prepared to take on the duties of the pope. If he says yes, then there is a new pope. If not, the process begins again.
11) Once a winner has been determined, the oldest of the assembled cardinals will appear on the balcony in St. Peter's Square at the
It will be interesting to see who will be chosen