I’m afraid I can’t take this conclave thing too seriously, but not because I don’t respect the rights of a certain subset to choose their venerable old man very carefully.
It is an absolute, unequivocal right for said subset to put hundreds of balding old men up in a 7-star hotel in conditions of absolutely secrecy, being waited on hand and foot by nuns who may not be priestesses on pain of excommunication.
It is completely reasonable to use air pollution as the only means of alert in a world which has (believe it or not) had telephones and talking and, um, flags, for quite some time now.
No, the reason I can’t take it all that seriously is… Well, it’s all the fault of the Pink Panther. Click here for an explanassssion!