Picking the next Pope is among the most important jobs that the Catholic Church must do. Pope Bendict was the first Pope in over 600 years to abdicate his throne and while the reasons behind his decision are still up for debate, the results will play out in real time over the next few days and weeks as a new Pope is elected. Much like joining an Italian wine of the month club, you will find plenty of interesting choices if you study those who are elgibile to become Pope! The first issue is where the next Pope may be from. Much like wine, the Catholic Church is shrinking in Europe. While less and less people go to Chuch or drink wine, more people in Africa, Asia and the Americas are picking up those trends. The real question is if the Catholic Church, or the wine industry which is based largely in Europe can accept some level of dominance form another region of the world after next having really been subjected to it. As an example, in the wine industry American wine reviewers largely gained more power than their European counterparts over the last two decades, shifting the center of the wine industry more toward Napa Valley in California as opposed to Bordeaux in France. The second main question facing the Catholic Church is how conservative the next Pope is likely to be. It’s interesting because when you join a wine of the month club your main choice is often what type of wine you’d like to have included in your shipments. A conservative choice would include either Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, while a more liberal choice would include any number of Rhone Varietals like Grenache or Syrah. If a Pope is elected and has a liberal viewpoint, he could literally change every single thing about the Catholic Church in a short period of time. There have been times in history that a change like that has been welcomed by the masses of followers. I am not sure if we are a similar time or not given the wide spread abuses of Priests and how the church in general has largely failed to deal with them. Much like your wine choice, the college of Cardinals has to choose how aggressive they want to be in terms of changing with the times and electing the next Pope of the largest religion on the face of the planet, over 1 billion souls are at risk for this choice-when it comes to your wine club choice, only your dollars are at risk!