• Two pontiffs living just a few yards apart. Can you say... awkward?

    Get ready, if you play your cards right, next time you visit the Vatican you'll get two popes for the price of one. Pope Benedict who's retiring there and the new pope, who'll soon settle in there.

    I don't care what the Holy See says, I see problems.

    Oh, I know Pope Benedict says he just wants to pray and study and all but fade into the woodwork. Trouble is that woodwork's within an ancient stone's throw of the new pope's woodwork. And both men will be served by the same archbishops and dress in kind of the same outfits.

    No wonder some Vatican-based cardinals are privately grumbling -- even though cardinals aren't supposed to grumble. They're concerned it'll just confuse folks -- kind of like that mess back in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was toying with the idea of having Gerald Ford be his running mate.

    Ford's folks said their guy would be kind of like a co-president. Reagan put the kibosh on that and Ford and ending up picking a guy named Bush -- who ultimately became a president anyway. But I think the Gipper got it on leadership: You can only have one leader at a time.

    If memory serves me right, co-CEOs might now and then cut it in corporate America, but rarely co-presidents.

    Remember Bill and Hillary Clinton when they were in the White House? They were billed as the deal to end all deals for voters -- two-for-the price of one. Then came Hillary's health care debacle and one had to proceed down the bench.

    Look, we Catholics like to say our popes are infallible, but that doesn't mean they still can't be gullible. Especially those who believe they can work along-side each other like a Vatican odd couple and not end up driving each other crazy.

    I'm just wondering who'll be "Felix" and who'll be "Oscar." I'm told Benedict is a real neat freak, so I'm betting he's Felix.

    I don't mean to be irreverent or sacrilegious, but bet your rosary beads this gets bumpy. And you don't have to be Catholic to see catastrophe.

    I'm not saying Benedict will shout and second-guess his successor. He'll live so darn close, he won't have to. He can whisper.

    Which leads me to believe, the new pope's heavenly patience with the old pope will soon pop and before long, Benedict will be set up in a very nice condo, maybe far away on some mountain, where he can just be left to pray.