Hey, Pope. Let’s Be Frank.

Posted by admin on March 25, 2013 in Religion |

Jorge Bergoglio hit the lottery a couple weeks ago. Imagine what it was like for him. You buy an innocent ticket to the lottery decades ago when you decide to become a priest. Along the way, you hit some scratch-offs, scoring a church and perhaps some of the perks of the office — all the red wine you can drink and some stale bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth like glue, but aren’t too bad with sardines and perhaps a little more red wine.

Eventually you move up the religious food chain. People like you, they really like you. As such, the church reassigns you, first to other churches, then to a diocese as Archbishop, and finally, Cardinal.

Geez, this is beginning to sound like a video game. If you’re really skilled and a bit lucky, you level up. If you make a large error, you level down again. But I think sex with an altered boy is just a temporary setback, because you still have a lot of lives left when you’re in the priest game. You can always level up again.

Back to Jorge. We all know by now that this guy was history in the making. He’s the first non-European Pope in something like 2,000 years, and the first Jesuit. He likes to make his own breakfast and pay his own bill.

But as Pope, you don’t get to do a lot of things for yourself. You’re a busy man. You have to talk to God all the time (because Catholics don’t have direct dial), you have to step out on the portico, hold your hands at very uncomfortable angles to look pious, you have to ride around endlessly in the Popemobile, waving at the faithful masses who actually believe you’re bigger than The Beatles, and do some of the lesser Pope stuff, like kiss babies and lead a mass or two while mumbling incomprehensibly in Latin. Finally, at the end of a long day, you park the crucifix for the night, call it a day, and hope to God some other Cardinal with an axe to grind doesn’t poison your evening glass of warm milk.

You can’t blame these Cardinals. Jorge was one of them just the day before. He was sitting in the conclave, voting for his favorite Pope-to-be, volunteering to stoke the fires that signaled that they hadn’t yet made a choice, and suddenly, on the fifth ballot, his number comes up, he gets the winner take all nod, and he’s Pope.

He doesn’t even get to go back home to pick up his belongings because he’s the Pope. A puff of white smoke and poof, popedom.

Gone are those heady Jesuit days of living in complete poverty. You not only get a spiffy pope home with the deal, but an entire country. Yes, Vatican City is its own country. Even through it is located in Rome, a city unto its own, it is a country of about 900 residents and 3,000 workers whose only job is to support the Pope and everything he needs to keep the faithful, well, full of faith.

And, of course, you don’t get to keep your name. You have to have a new name, the name of a saint. You can’t be Pope Doug or Pope Joey. Popes just can’t have the name of a commoner.

I would be unable to handle the pressure. When I was confirmed as a Catholic, I had to pick a name, too. You get a fourth name when you’re Confirmed. I tortured over this for a long time. It’s the only name you can legitimately give yourself, since your parents named you long before you popped out of the tunnel of love, or in my case, at the hospital, receiving a name that has absolutely no family history, context or meaning.

I cast about for a new name for some time. A decade or so, actually. I didn’t get Confirmed at 12 like most good Catholic boys. We had fallen away from the church by then, so I got cheated out of deciding to dedicate my life to my faith. I had to wait until I was 22.

I originally wanted to have the name Elvis. My brothers even tried to convince me that there really was a Saint Elvis. But I consulted my ever present saints book and Elvis was not among the sainted flock. Yes, I knew where the Book of Saints was in the library.

I settled on Bartholomew. Not because Saint Bartholomew had any special meaning. I’m pretty sure he was the 13th Apostle. If you look closely to the painting of dinner with Jesus, you can see Bartholomew through the window. He is outside, trying to convince club security that he really is on the list but Jesus only made reservations for 12. Even Judas couldn’t get a seat. To add insult to injury, Bart’s version of how things played out, his Gospel, was condemned as being fictitious, so it was left out of the Bible. Hhm, maybe Bartholomew was a good choice for my name after all.

Obviously, Jorge had time to think on this. He was supposedly first runner-up for Pope the last time there was a vote. And we think Mitt Romney feels the pains of loss. Jorge was first runner-up in the last Pope Pageant. He was so close to scoring the role of the Holy See, the brass ring of the Catholic religion, but blew it in the swimsuit competition with that plunging two-piece frock.

Thankfully, Jorge had another chance to rethink his bold fashion choice. And now, millions of Catholics worldwide have a new Pope, Pope Francis, or as I like to call him, Pope Frank. Actually, they have two Popes for the first time in history, since Benedict is still around. I hear he makes a great egg dish. Jorge definitely won’t have to cook breakfast any longer, not with Benny in the house.

In the Emerald City not Vatican City, and pretty happy about that,

– Robb


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