me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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The Conclave

In about twelve hours the Cardinals of the Catholic Church -- all those under 80, with the exception of a very few -- will walk in procession into the Sistine Chapel and sit in red-robed rows beneath Michaelangelo's great ceiling. They've been debating and discussing -- polite terms for politicking -- for days now, and this is it. They'll vote as many ballots as they have to, one each morning and afternoon, returning to their rooms at night, until they have a Pope.

"Conclave" is from the Latin for "with a key." This is not the same as "with a clue," but I digress. This term for the gathering of Cardinals that elects a Pope comes from the time in the 13th C. when after eighteen Popeless months the city fathers of Viterbo locked the Cardinal-electors in, fed them only bread and water, and finally removed the roof of the Palazzo di Papi and made them stay there until they had a Pope. That Pope, Gregory X, thought all this was such a great idea that he made it a law that henceforth the Cardinal-electors should be locked in until a Pope was chosen. They feed them better now, though, and no one's removing the Sistine Chapel roof.

"Conclave," the above notwithstanding, has a rather different meaning in BLOOD OF THE LAMB, where Sam Cabot uses it to refer to a gathering of... rather different people.

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