Tea Party Patriots Bringing the Conscience of America to Washington DC
“How long have we been cooped up in here, Salvatore?” queried the man in the red skull cap.
The canon expert turned the pity in his eyes towards Cardinal Campeggio, “4 weeks, 3 days and 11 hours, your Eminence.”
The retirement of Pope Benedict XVI had caused the princes of the Church to convene once again behind the walls of the Vatican to elect a new Vicar of Christ. One-hundred and seventeen men dressed in the colors of St. Louis baseball, all waiting on the American congregation to finally present their ballots.
The balloting had begun early in the Conclave. In fact, the very first day saw a vote. Great excitement had swept the Catholic world. The Italian domination of the papacy had clearly ended. A Pole, followed by a German, seemed to have laid the ghosts of WWII to rest. Now everyone was anticipating the first African or Latin American pontiff. But they were still waiting on the votes of the cardinals from the United States.
To make the suspense even greater, only two men had received ballots. So, it was clear, the election would be settled by the delegation from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
Tied at 53 votes apiece were Cardinals Peter Turkson of Ghana and Leonardo Sandri of Argentina. That meant the odd number of remaining votes would be decisive.
“Could I ask you, Salvatore, to invite Cardinal Dolan from New York to join me for dinner?” instructed the former Papal nuncio.
“I shall return at once with a reply”, Salvatore returned.
With the Americans still not having cast their ballots, Cardinal Timothy Dolan from the Big Apple strode across the great hall to find a hot bowl of minestrone awaiting him.
“Cardinal Campeggio, I thank you for your kind invitation to dine”, purred the American.
“I thought that we might converse while providing nourishment to our bodies”, cooed his peer. “We, that are your brethren in scarlet, are concerned for the welfare of your delegation. Would it be unseemly to ask why your ballots are not yet counted?”
“Of our eleven, ten have made their choice after long prayer and deep reflection. These are evenly split between Cardinal Turkson and Cardinal Sandri.”
“Pray tell me, which of our Brothers in Christ still struggles with his conscience?”
“His Eminence, Cardinal Buffett of West Palm Beach, Florida.”
Campeggio looked puzzled, “I heard he dressed in Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts. Yet, I see none in your delegation so attired.”
“Cardinal Buffett felt that on this occasion he would be more…traditional?” was the Irish-American clergyman’s explanation.
Salvatore indicated a particular holy man in across the hall for Cardinal Campeggio.
“Salvatore, how did you know that he is Cardinal Buffett?” asked the curious man-of-the-cloth. Cardinal Dolan chuckled softly to himself.
“Your Eminence, Cardinal Buffet is not wearing socks and I can see the gecko tattoo wrapping his ankle.
Suddenly, a stir arose from the American delegation indicating that after more than four weeks the last ballot had finally been cast by Cardinal Buffett.
All the ballots now accounted for; the tally was read aloud to the Conclave by Father Salvatore.
“For Cardinal Sandri of Argentina there are 58 votes. For Cardinal Turkson of Ghana there are 58 votes.”
The priest suddenly stopped, raised a quizzical expression to the Conclave, “I’m sorry your Eminences but who is Pat Buchanan?”