Two boys, Timothy Murphy and Secola Antony, were both raised in the Catholic faith, one in Ireland and the other in Italy. Their lives paralleled each other’s in remarkable ways. Faithfully they each attended parochial schools and they both took the vows and entered the priesthood shortly after graduation. Though both amazed many with their careers, it was generally acknowledged that Secola Antony was just a slight cut above Timothy Murphy in almost every respect. As time went on, both rose through the ranks of the Catholic hierarchy, from priest to bishop, then archbishop, and finally cardinal. Soon the whole world knew that when the current Pope passed away, one of these two fine men would be selected to fill his shoes.
In time the Pope did pass, and the College of Cardinals went to work. In less time than anyone had expected, white smoke rose from the chimney and the world awaited the formal declaration. However, everyone was surprised to hear that Timothy Murphy had been selected as the next Pope! Cardinal Antony was devastated and, in an unprecedented move, asked for a meeting with the College of Cardinals, where he could only blurt out one word: “Why?”
At last one old cardinal took pity on him and stood to give reply. “We knew you were the better choice, but we just could not bear the thought that the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church would be Pope Secola.”