Papal Madness: Your Sweet Sistine and the Eminent Eight Brackets Are Here

More than 100 Catholic cardinals are congregating in the Sistine Chapel to crown the next Vicar of Christ. Let the games begin

It’s March. We get it. You have bracket fever. So do we. That’s why—to tide you over for a little longer—we’re going to divert your attention to Vatican City, where another competition (of sorts) is underway. Catholic honcho Benedict XVI has resigned his papal post to serve the Holy Church of God through a life dedicated to prayer. He said that because of his age, his strengths are not suitable for exercising the Petrine ministry. This has ruffled some feathers in the See of Rome partly because he’s the first pontiff to resign in more than six centuries—but also because what has to happen now is 115 cardinal electors will lock themselves in a room until a new Holy Father emerges. It’s a Big Dance of its own, as potential popes from all corners of the globe convoke in holy conclave. Whoever gets selected will have big red shoes to fill, a funny looking hat to wear, and long days to endure. It’s tough being His Holiness—the head of the Catholic Church—the Bishop of Rome and the head of the sovereign city-state, Vatican City. Who’s the right man for the job(s)? Thanks to Religion News Service, not only do we have a bracket for you, we’ve also got a few guesses at some likely winners. Fill out your brackets, do your thing, but maybe—actually definitely—don’t put any money on it. St. Peter says gambling pope-style is a no-no. Shame on you! (Just kidding. My money’s on Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.)