Even though half the cardinals who will be electing the next pope were appointed by the present pope the Roman Catholic church's system of electing its leader is far more democratic than the one employed by the Church of England when it needs to elect a new archbishop of Canterbury. With 250 cardinals involved there is a chance that something unusual might happen, as has happend in the past. There is no chance of anything other than the predictable happening when the small caucus of establishment types, chosen by establishment types, meet in secret to choose our beloved leader. This is proved by how easy it was for me to predict correctly that Justin Welby would get the job even before Williams resigned. I wouldn't be anywhere near as confident if asked to predict who is going to be the next bishop of Rome.