Last night, after 2 days of hard fighting, the conclave of the Papale Royale ended, spewing forth a new pope from it's now bloody innards. The Papale Royale act was passed by the Vatican council in 1217 and has been used as inspiration for films and books ever since. In recent years, technogical advances have been incorporated into the ritual, but the premise remains the same: A group of cardinals are brought to the Vatican, generally under the influence of a soporific to ensure that there are no escapees, and then are locked in the Sistine Chapel until only one cardinal remains - a Pope forged in the fiery heat of battle.
Newer ideas, such as the usage of exploding Roman Collars to ensure that the participants cannot escape the designated battle area and parts of the Vatican marked as "Danger Zones", which cause the collars to automatically detonate if the wearer does not leave the area immediately, have been criticised by religious commentators, but have been welcomed by the Cardinalate, who plan to release a DVD of this year's event within the next few months. One rule that is marked in stone and is respected by even those critical of the process, is the strict adherence to hand to hand combat, with an outright ban on projectile and chemical weapons. The weapons are generally of a crushing type and are displayed within the Sistine Chapel as chalices, maces, crosses and reliquaries during the "off season".
This history of the Papale Royale has been quite varied. In the "Year of Three Popes", 1978, the death of Pope Paul VI led to a fiercely fought conclave, that ended with the emergence of Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I, as the victor. However, his wounds were severe and he died a mere 33 days later, leading to a hastily gathered conclave of mainly non-battle-hardened cardinals, which was easily one by Karol Wojtyla, the late Pope John Paul II, whose fighting skills had been tempered during his youth in Poland. More distant conclaves are still remembered, especially those of the middle ages, where the chosen cardinals would generally proceed to the doors of the chosen venue with a large retinue, and would engage in bouts of "trash talk" similar to those seen these days between professional boxers.
Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, was one of the favourites for the title this time round. His solid and well known boxing skill was a cause for worry, as the contenders from South America were all well versed in a number of exotic fighting styles that Ratzinger was thought not to have studied. However these fears were unfounded when Benedict XVI stepped triumphantly onto the balcony to greet a crowd still chanting "Habemus Papem!". "We have a pope".
The Vatican still has no comment on the obviousness of the location of Bear defecation in comparison to the religious leanings of the Pontiff.