Catholics know that a new pope has been selected when white smoke issues from the Vatican chimneys. The election of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Church, was signaled this year when British bookmakers stopped taking bets on the candidates for the post.
The new Archbishop is the current Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby - no relation, of course, to the fabled Marcus Welby, the combined general practitioner and super Nanny of American television fiction.
The new prelate does, however, have a made-for-TV biography.
His colorful father, Gavin Welby, was a bootlegger during the Prohibition era in the United States and later courted the actress Vanessa Redgrave.
The new Archbishop graduated Eton, one of the prestige schools of the British elite, and then went on to be an oil executive for 11 years.
He renounced a successful and lucrative business career to join the clergy and served his church in Africa - where he was nearly killed- and in Britain's inner cities.
From his experience in the business world ,the new Archbishop has learned management skills, but also discovered the iniquities of the banking world. While his predecessor Rowan Williams was identified with the left, Welby is considered closer to the moderate conservative approach of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Church of England has been badly split over the issue of gay rights. Africa, which contains many of the world's Anglicans, remains hostile to homosexuality. The Bishop of York, John Sentamu, who was born in Uganda and fled the country in 1974 during the reign of Idi Amin, has been quite outspoken against homosexuality and multiculturalism. Considered a leading candidate for the post of Archbishop, Sentamu's outspokenness may have derailed his chances in a world where these are unassailable buzz-words.
Justin Welby gets along with all the church factions, although observers believe that he, too, quietly opposes homosexuality.