As you may have heard, some guys in funny hats are trying to find a new leader to ride around in a funny car. No, it's not Barnum & Bailey's clown troupe; of course I'm talking about the College of Cardinals and their quest for a new Pope.
It's quite the serious affair, as a billion or so people will look to this man for explanations why the Big Guy does what he does. And as anyone who has read Dan Brown knows it's quite an ancient, convoluted process to elect a new Pope. But as other highly-secretive counting exercises have demonstrated, it's nothing that an international network of professional service firms can't handle.
Since I was raised Protestant and currently don't subscribe to any specific religion, I would never, in all eternity, expect the Catholic Church to take my suggestion seriously, but since it's Monday and this was the most interesting thing I saw on Twitter today
, we're going to take a stab. Plus, Adrienne confirms that it was a good idea.
First things first — all the firms would have to establish a Vatican City office that would ensure immunity to any outside litigation should the vote go horribly wrong and result in a religious scandal1
of Lehman Brothers sized proportions. I'm confident that the pack of international law experts employed by each firm will be able to handle this without breaking a sweat. The actual counting of the cardinals' votes, on the other hand, I'm less sure about.
Anyway, here are some possible outcomes should any of the Big 4 be tasked with verifying the results of the papal conclave:
– Staying consistent with its rash of low-quality audits
, Deloitte's procedures somehow confirm that, for the first time in the history of the church, a rabbi will become Pope.
– Bob Moritz shows up
, dressed for the occasion (i.e. a cardinal cassock) to oversee the conclave, including the smoke signals and the ringing of the bells when a new Pope is finally confirmed. PwC issues three press releases a day during the process.
Ernst & Young – EYStaff Twitter account announces the Pope-elect with a #whitesmoke hashtag. Years later, it is discovered the E&Y approved of an unorthodox "repurchase voting" method, the consequences of which was an incredibly misleading result. The Catholic Church collapses in wake of the revelation, yet Ernst & Young continues on quite miraculously.
KPMG –- On the day that procedures are set to commence, the partners responsible for the engagement somehow end up in Mecca. They are quickly fired and replaced with PwC. These partners redeem themselves in subsequent years by winning a number of contracts with al Qaeda, building a successful "Alternative NFP Practice." PwC later poaches the partners for their expertise in the field.
It's worth noting that Grant Thornton was initially interested in the engagement but ultimately withdrew, citing their commitment to focus their on mid-market religions like the Churches of Scientology and Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In any case, there would be a new Pope, just not without a little excitement that only a Big 4 firm could provide. If there are other possible scenarios that I've overlooked, please offer them up.
1 I am not — NOT! — going there in this post.