Although this column by Rev. Thomas Reece was written before Pope Francis was elected, its message remains relevant: Lessons Washington could learn from the conclave.

Reece, a senior fellow at Georgetown Universitys Woodstock Theological Center and commentator on contemporary Catholicism, summarizes the history of the conclave and why it produces results.

"The lesson is clear. If you want a budget, lock up the Congress, take away their cellphones and Internet, don't let them go to fund raisers, and if necessary put them on bread and water until they pass a budget. It has worked for hundreds of years in the Catholic Church, it might even work in Washington."