Sunday, April 24, 2005

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Pope?

It seems that the whole tidal proceedings surrounding the Vatican’s most recent “Popestock” festivities is drawing to somewhat of a close as the assembled cardinals of the Catholic Church have now finally finished deliberating over who will be elected as the next Pope to replace the recently deceased Pope John Paul II.

It’s only now that I am actually digesting all that I have witnessed on those endless CNN broadcasts over the past week and a half and formulated my own impressions of this said media madness.

After only a quick two days of careful deliberation, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected by his papal peers as the new 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and it’s 1.1 billions followers worldwide.

From atop a thin copper chimney atop the Sistine Chapel at 5:49PM local time, wisps of smoke announced to the tens of thousands of faithful Catholics gathered below in St. Peters Square that a new Pope had indeed been elected.

Was it black smoke; was it white smoke; was it gray smoke; or did the Vatican chefs just burn dinner?

You’d think after two thousand years of existence through the ages, that the Church would have by now devised a more clear and precise way in which to signal the new Pope to the world instead of using non-descript puffs of smoke that would confuse even the most astute Native American Chief.

As it is now, and as it has always been, once the votes have been counted, the ballots are burned. If there has been no winner, a chemical is mixed with the ballots to produce black smoke when they are burned. Sight of the black smoke emerging from the roof of the Vatican palace tells those waiting outside that a pope has not been selected. When a winner has been selected, the ballots are burned alone and the white smoke indicates that there is a new pope (either that, or that a wagon train is making it’s way over the prairies, and so to sharpen your tomahawks).

This whole smoke thing seems a little confused, and therefore antiquated to me. Why not actually usher in the Age of Technology into the Church and install more accurate and easy-to-read signal lights on top of the Vatican instead - or maybe even a huge digital jumbo ‘Popetron’ screen perhaps? At the very least, I was hoping for scantily clad cardinals in Marti Gras beads baring their chests on overhanging balconies and pumping the air with their fists to a hard driving techno beat.

I mean, this is a pretty major significant event in the history of the world, and yet, the best they can do to mark this momentous occasion is with a simple puff of smoke? What kind of a pyrotechnic display is that? I want fireworks, pinwheels, and entire symphonies of fire in the sky – not little wafts of smoke that may, or may not, be white.

Whoopee-fucking-shit! That's about as thrilling as a sparrow fart.

So it was in this way that the new pontiff was announced to the world to lead Catholics into the next era of Christiandom. And who did the cardinals elect after only two days of deliberation – 78-year-old German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the guardian of the church’s doctrine for the past 24 years! Ratzinger, as described by his colleges is an “Enforcer of the Faith” and a strict supporter of proper traditional Catholic doctrine.

Great, just what the world needs – another German conservative!

Have the cardinals lost their collective mind during those 48 hours? How many positive German onservative has the world played witnessed to in the last 100 years alone? Apart from a particular crazy Kaiser, an over-disgruntled house painter, and a guy who is too fixated on little boy’s penises to altogether healthy, when has the world ever seen anything good or "holy" from a German conservative?

Don’t we ever learn? Shit, why not just elect Courtney Love?

Even in his new media photographs on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, he has a striking resemblance to the cloaked Emperor from ‘Return of the Jedi’. There is just something instantly unsettling about the man like he could use the Dark Side of the Force on us at any moment!

Cardinal Ratzinger was known in the Vatican circles as “Mr. No!”* for his strict defending of the Catholic faith and his stand against divorce, communism, gay marriage or for members of the clergy, women in the clergy, birth control, and even rock music!

Wonderful. Sounds like we’re in for a real party!

However, his possible stance against the abominable Reality Television plague could be a campaign to maybe even revitalize some sense of lost faith in even my skeptical heathen ass!

Upon being elected the new Pope by the papacy, Cardinal Ratzinger was required to choose the name he wants to carry for the head of the Roman Catholic Church. His choice was expected to reflect his own theological or personal preferences rather than dogma, and would no doubt be studied by the Vatican for signs of how he intends to take forward the papacy.

Ratzinger announced to his loyal followers that from that moment onward, he would be recognized as Pope Benedict XVI.

Wait, why is he naming himself after an omelet? That can’t be a good omen to begin ones pontificate with, could it?

It’s normally customary to choose another holy moniker to be recognized by, whether it’s a Latinized form of his Christian name, a saint’s name, or the name of an earlier pope with such charming warming names as Agapitus, Anastasius, Calixtus, Pius, Innocent, Clement, Gelacius, Hilarus, Hormisdas, Simplicius, or Sixtus - there was even a Pope Lando for fuck sakes!

There’s just something daunting about somebody who instead chose broken eggs as the motif to begin his reign of the Catholic faith.

Did anybody else just get a chill?

* Which to my mind makes me think automatically of a stereotypical Ian Fleming-style Bond villain.


Anonymous Lelia Katherine Thomas said...

I have Christian beliefs, and I've had Catholic friends throughout my life, but I'll never understand so much of the tradition. Some traditions are good--even fun!--but some are, well, retarded.

Let's not forget another prominent Benedict: Benedict Arnold. hahahaha As if one didn't set us back enough.

Hellooooo, Dark Ages Part Deux.

7:27 PM  
Blogger crazytigerrabbitman said...

I purposely left out the Benedict Arnold slant/portion of this particular post out for considerdation sake. Damn! I knew that traitor angle was gold. lol.

7:32 PM  

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