Pope Benedict XVI, otherwise known as "Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God" has decided to retire. This is unfortunate - I had always been told that "God Hates A Quitter" and personally, I think the Pope, if anyone, should be leading by example. That said, I have often thought that I would make a fine Pope and could enact some much-needed change in the beloved, if rather stale and dowdy global enterprise known as The Catholic Church. And now is my chance.
When I have brought this thought up in the past to my wife, who is from Mexico and raised a staunch Catholic, the idea was always meant with a hearty "NOOOO - you can't be the Popa!" I would pout, mutter to myself and go back to minding my own business. Apparently, my run at the office of Pope would have to be mounted a bit more surreptitiously than via a broad proclamation. There would apparently be some opposition, what with me being neither a Cardinal or a Bishop, or even a Priest, for that matter. Hell, I'm not even Catholic and don't believe half the fairy tales in the bible and generally scoff at the idea of an omniscient God that rules over the world of man. That could be a problem when running for head of an organization built around propagating the tales of the bible and all. Or half of it... Or whatever.
However, when I typed in "do you have to be Catholic to be the Pope" into my Google Search, this answer came up: "The Pope is elected by the Cardinals, who are the top officials of the Catholic church. Under the rules, they could elect anyone they wanted to as Pope. And there have been some cases where the person who was elected as Pope had no religious or priestly background. It appears that they purchased the office (something called Simoney)." I considered this a promising start. I could find a way to tapdance around the atheism and bible-as-fairy-tale-thing when the time came, like any good preacher or politician.
This also from the internet: "While it is possible that a non-Catholic could be elected Pope, it is very unlikely. Consider the power that the Pope has today in the Catholic church and over the world, it would make no sense for the Cardinals to elect someone who was not in agreement with their beliefs, agenda, etc." Okay, a little stumbling block, but I think that with a couple of strategically-greased Cardinal-palms and a thinly-veiled threat to some Cardinals with the world-renowned and much-maligned Skewed Moral Priest-Compass, I believe I could at least get a foot in the door. After that, I would have to rely on my natural charisma and unerring sense of right and wrong to convince the rest of the Cardinals that I was the man for the job, in spite of being married (for the third time) and an atheist.
I would bring change to the Catholic religion - amongst the changes I would enact:
- Change the hat. Too gaudy - go with an elegant fedora. The look is timeless.
- Increase attendance to the Catholic church mass worldwide, by offering a refund of money previously donated to return visitors. But how will the church make money, you ask? Volume. And by selling off some the ostentatious candlesticks and jewels. They are often referred to as "priceless", but give me a week and a secure Amazon account and we can clean up this decorating disaster in a hurry.
- No more of the up and down during the course of the mass. Have a seat, get comfortable. I would also add a sports segment - a lot of good events happen to take place on Sunday and I believe that worshipers would appreciate an update. Another positive, along with the dollar beer and free popcorn, that is guaranteed to drive attendance.