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VATICAN CITY - The cardinals are meeting at the Vatican this week to lay the groundwork for the conclave to elect a new pope, after this month's suprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

There is much on their agenda: determining Catholicism's most pressing challenges, looking for the right man for the papal job, clarifying the precise rules for voting inside the secret meeting in the Sistine Chapel.

To help them on their spiritual quest, there is: Adopt-a-Cardinal.

Screen grab from Adopt a Cardinal

Yes, that's right: Adopt-a-Cardinal is a website where you can register your name and email address in order to be randomly assigned a scarlet-clad "prince of the Church" to pray for before and during the conclave, expected to start next week.

By Tuesday afternoon, Rome time, there were 263,712 people who had already adopted a cardinal. Worldcrunch was assigned Cardinal Godfried Daneels from Belgium -- we’ll be thinking of you during the coming weeks, Your Eminence!

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Ecrasez l'infâme

The site is in six languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Polish, and Italian and says it aims to let Catholics "support our shepherds with the strength of our faith and let us help them carry the burden of these days (Gal. 6,2)."

The site was created by German movement Jugend 2000 (Youth 2000), formed in 1990 after Pope John Paul II called on young people at the World Youth Day in 1989 to become the protagonists of the evangelization.

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Coronavirus

Will China's Zero COVID Ever End?

Too much has been put in to the state-sponsored truth that minimal spread of the virus is the at-all-cost objective. But if the Chinese economy continues to suffer, Xi Jinping may have no choice but to second guess himself.

COVID testing in Guiyang, China

Cfoto/DDP via ZUMA
Deng Yuwen

The tragic bus accident in Guiyang last month — in which 27 people being sent to quarantine were killed — was one of the worst examples of collateral damage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China nearly three years ago. While the crash can ultimately be traced back to bad government policy, the local authorities did not register it as a Zero COVID related casualty. It was, for them, a simple traffic accident.

The officials in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, of course, had no alternative. Drawing a link between the deadly crash and the strict policy of Zero COVID, touted by President Xi Jinping, would have revealed the absurdity of the government's choices.

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