Top 10 Signs You Aren’t the Pope

Thousands of Roman Catholics, staring heavenward, got a glimpse of what they were waiting for today. No, it wasn’t angels. It was white smoke coming from the specially-installed chimney at the Vatican. The new pope has been chosen. Are you wondering if it’s you? It’s highly unlikely. But just to put your confusion to rest, here are the Top 10 Signs You Aren’t the Pope.


You have to be a Catholic cardinal to be chosen as pope. So if “Cardinal” isn’t your job title, you’re not the pope.


When they elect you as pope, they ask, “Do you freely accept your election?” You’re supposed to say, “accepto,” the Latin word for “accept.” If you answer “Yup,” “Sure thing!” or “Hey, why not?” they don’t let you be the pope.


The newly elected pope chooses a new name; typically the name of some previous pope or otherwise super spiritual person whom he’d like to emulate. If you’re still answering to “Buck,” it’s likely you’re not the pope.


First, you can’t be married and be a pope. Second, if you were the pope, you’d have a cool gold Ring of the Fisherman (a ring in honor of St. Peter—the first pope and a tradition since the 1300’s). It’s what people kiss when they visit you. If you don’t have the ring, no one will be kneeling before you and kissing your hand. Because you? Are not the pope.


The pope is a dignified man with a dignified white robe. Those Lucky Brand jeans with holes in the knees are not even close to appropriate for strolling about the Vatican.


Popes get their educations at seminaries. They don’t take classes like “Basket Weaving 101.” They study great scholars and saints like Thomas Aquinas and such.


You have to be old to be the pope. If you don’t have arthritis, wrinkles or thinning hair, you don’t qualify.


This should be a dead giveaway. Sure, the Senior Cardinal Deacon was speaking Latin, but you’d recognize your name if you heard it.


When you’re the pope, you get the Popemobile, a funky little Mercedes SUV with a special spot for you to sit and wave at your admirers behind bullet-proof glass. It doesn’t get 45 mpg, but it comes with a driver, a security guy and two papal aides.


When you’re the pope, your nicknames are regal, spiritual and noble. If “Bubba” is as noble as it gets for you, you’re definitely not the pope.