Why odds are stacked against the next Pope being Scottish
A few minutes later, on the balcony of the papal apartments, the curtains part and out steps the former Cardinal Keith O'Brien, clad in the white soutanes of Pope Andrew I.
Pope Benedict XVI may only just have left our shores, but if we are to consider who might be the next Pope to visit Britain, why not begin by examining the chances of our own candidate.
Frankly, they are not too hot. At the moment, an American website, Gambling911.com, is offering odds of 50-1 that the next leader of the world's one billion Catholics will hail from Edinburgh and speak with a mild Northern Irish twang.
Considering that the website has as its favourite candidate Francis Arinze, the Nigerian candidate tipped to the first black Pope in 2005, who has retired, most informed commentators would double the odds to 100-1.
When asked about the chances of Scotland succeeding Poland and Germany as the exporter of leadership to the Vatican, John L Allen, of the National Catholic Reporter and biographer of Benedict XVI, replied: "Not great".
His reasons were as follows: O'Brien is not a well-known international figure, or particularly well known within the Vatican. "You have to give the sense that you would know how to navigate through the Vatican. I don't want to dismiss it completely out of hand, I mean, anything is possible, but he would not be on any list of the contenders."
Another reason is that O'Brien is a native English speaker, and there is a prejudice against an English-speaking Pope, as English is the language of globalisation against which Pope John Paul II and, to a lesser degree, Benedict XVI have railed.
Then again, Mr Allen is candid enough to admit that, after writing a biography of Cardinal Ratzinger, he included a chapter on the many reasons why he would not become Pope.
According to the Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit will guide the election, and should the spirit figure that a leader from a small European nation is best suited to lead the global Catholic Church, it could happen. But, then again, even the incumbent does not believe that the Holy Spirit had the influence to which he is credited.