Updated: Mar 4, 2020
What would my Vatican project be without the bishop of Rome? Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope, and the first non-European pontiff in over 1300 years. In his acceptance speech on the balcony of St Peter's, he said the cardinals who elected him had chosen someone "from the end of the Earth". Hopefully this referred to the fact that he was born in a country as distant as Argentina and not to a certain religious revelation. I envisioned my Pope toy primarily as a play thing to make the sorry state of world affairs a bit more lightly. That's how I came up with the swapping mechanism. I thought it was neat if the Vatican Machine user could somehow experience the symbolic exchange between black and white, while at the same time everything would be connected by a hidden bond. To get the machine working I needed two papal cut-outs.
Reality is often informing fantasy, that is how the Venezuelan, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, got his place in the device. During his first Mass as superior general of the Jesuits, the Black Pope reflected on seeking "to do not only the improbable but the impossible, because nothing is impossible to God". When journalists later asked to elaborate on that a bit more, he said "Countries like Venezuela, have adopted economic and political models that cannot sustain the needs of the people. President Nicolas Maduro should work together with the opposition, but the Church also must continue to give its important contribution to the common good. Jesuits are called to make known to the world that the impossible is possible, not only through spiritual formation but also through their service as educators"... whether or not this "education" also affected the young opposition leader Juan Guaidó is not clear, let me speculate and say it seems not entirely far fetched. Fact remains that Guaidó declared himself "Interim President" only a few years later, backed by the US and Canada. In hindsight we can say that it was unwise to think lightly of overthrowing the legitimate government of Maduro. Ohhh and accidentally, did you noticed that Abascal and abysmal share the same tone and deviate only three letters?