Venting and vetting: The brutal side of papal politics

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st. peter's square

St. Peter's Square - Rome. During the process to elect a new pope, Cardinals will stay in the Casa Santa Marta, a $20 million hotel-style residence inside the Vatican walls built by Pope John Paul II. Cardinals may not leave the Vatican grounds until a conclave concludes. RNS photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons ( / Public Domain.

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(RNS) If far less expensive and not quite as mind-numbing as a U.S. presidential campaign, the condensed version of papal campaign politics is not much gentler, or necessarily more effective. Instead it can be nasty, brutish and short.