One of the most interesting geopolitical problems in the world is this: Why has the Papacy survived?

emblem_of_the_papacyIn a darwinian sense, the Roman Papacy has survived for 2000 years when no other similar institution has survived that long. But why?

Although there are no more Russian Czars the British Monarchy is still in existence. It is amazingly robust and has survived for over 1000 years. And, of course, the French and American Republics are relative newcomers on the geopolitical block.

So, the lone survival of the Papacy over the past two millenia is a unique geopolitical problem that does require an explanation.

I’ve spent 30 years thinking about this question and that is why I’ve become a vaticanologist.

The Vatican’s theological explanation of their long survival is: Spiritus Sanctus (The Holy Spirit. I have a different theory: Curia Populusque Romanum (The Curia and the People of Rome).

Papal Tourism

20pope-articleLargeEver since the days of Caesar Augustus as Pontifex Maximus all roads have led to Rome and these roads bring pilgrims and their cash.

There is a need to provide religious tourists with their daily bread, accomodation, refreshments, artifacts, transport, souvenirs, entertainment and places to worship along with all the other things.

This business provides a great economic strategy for a place like Rome and it’s citizens and it is in their interests to maintain Rome as a global destination for religious tourists.

The Roman Curia 2013

For example, the Roman Curia says Pope Francis drew more than 6.6 million people to his audiences, Masses and other Rome events managed by the Curia in 2013. This is more than twice as many as his predecessor Benedict XVI did in his first year as Pope. For comparison’s sake, the Curia reported that some 2.85 million people attended Papal events in Benedict’s first year as pope in 2005.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi addresses Cardinals during the closing day of the spiritual retreat with pope at VaticanThese statistics are very important not only to the Roman Curia but also to the People of Rome.

They cover only events held in Rome starting from Francis’ March 13 election. But, you only have to be in Rome, especially on Wednesdays and Sundays, to see that business is good. Very good.

This kind of economic boost is something that even Berlusconi and Co failed to deliver.

Viva il Papa!  Viva il Papa!  Viva il Papa!