A Tale of Two Popes

Two young met while studying in seminary, Matthew Anderson and Anthony Sicola. They become great friends, but also become very competitive between each other. They both graduate #1 and #2 in their class, with Anthony being #1 and Matthew being #2. They then both go to their new parishes, which instantly become hugely popular. For years the two of them rise through the ranks of the Catholic Church, becoming bishops, arch-bishops, and cardinals around the same time. Always though, Anthony is considered the slightly better of the two.
Eventually, the reigning Pope passes away, and the College of Cardinals is convened to choose the next Pope. They debate for days until the list is down to just two names, Anthony and Matthew. After another day or two of deliberation, the white smoke is seen, and they make the announcement, Matthew Anderson will be the next Pope.
Anthony, happy for his friend, is perturbed because he knows in his heart that he is better and would make a better Pope. He pleads for time in front of the College of Cardinals, and is granted an audience. He asks them why they decided on Matthew and not him. For a few quiet, still minutes, not a single person talks. Then an old cardinal in the back speaks up. "Anthony, we know you are the better of the two, but we ultimately had to come to a decision. That decision is that we just could not live with ourselves if we named the next Pope, Pope Sicola."

Read "Pope Sicola" quickly if you don't get the punch line.

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