What Congress could learn from the papal conclave

Published: Friday, March 15 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

People pray inside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. White smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, Wednesday evening, in Vatican City, meaning 115 cardinals in a papal conclave elected a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Associated Press

Although this column by Rev. Thomas Reece was written before Pope Francis was elected, its message remains relevant: Lessons Washington could learn from the conclave.

Reece, a senior fellow at Georgetown Universitys Woodstock Theological Center and commentator on contemporary Catholicism, summarizes the history of the conclave and why it produces results.

"The lesson is clear. If you want a budget, lock up the Congress, take away their cellphones and Internet, don't let them go to fund raisers, and if necessary put them on bread and water until they pass a budget. It has worked for hundreds of years in the Catholic Church, it might even work in Washington."

Read more about What Congress could learn from the papal conclave on National Catholic Reporter.

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