Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Monday, April 04, 2005

I announce my candidacy...

... for the recently vacated position of Pope. In fact, the forthcoming Conclave of Cardinals (that's the name of the big smoke-in where they choose the next Pope) is the perfect test for the existence of the Roman Catholic God. If some elderly cardinal with murderously insane beliefs about contraception gets elected as the man to guide the 1.1 billion Catholics into the future, then the election was clearly not guided by The Divine.

On the other hand, if I get a phonecall from Rome over the next few days, inviting me to get fitted for my swanky new hat and coat, then we know God is guiding their hands. Right?

And contrary to popular belief, a person doesn't need to be a Cardinal to be elected Pope. In fact, you don't even need to be a member of the clergy at all. You just need to be a Catholic (I can easily bluff that one given my background), you need to be at least 33 (which gives me a whole year's breathing space), you need to have a penis (very important that... tales of a female pope; "Pope Joan"; are untrue... the Church has never had a woman in charge, and it plans on keeping it that way), and you can't be a schismatic (not a chance... I plan on consolidation) or a simonist (compared to the last lot I'll be good as gold).

Yes, yes, I know there was that proclamation of the Council of Pope Stephen III (in response to the unfortunate antipope Constantine incident) excluding anyone other than a Cardinal from becoming Pope. But the Church was suffering an extended interregnum at the time (not technically, but certainly from an ecclesiastical standpoint) with all manner of silly stuff being said and done by Popes. The Carlovingian Empire was collapsing all over the place and the whole period was one of - what can best be described as - rampant abuse of the office. Pope Otto I (just as a for instance) insisted that the next Pope not be chosen by the cardinals... but by his son.

Ahem... his son?

So there's a lot of Catholic scholars who would tend to ignore most of that nonsense and accept that, although it hasn't happened since Pope Urban VI in the 14th century, a member of the laity can indeed be elected to the office of Bishop of Rome. And if God wants a representative here on earth... well, I'm not one to boast... but can you really think of anyone more suitable?

I'm pretty certain I'll be a damn sight better than the last bloke. Don't get me wrong; as popes go, he did more groovy things than most and roughly the usual amount of damage. So yeah, he was pretty groovy. As popes go. I trust you understand the full weight of that condition. He didn't deliberately start wars or personally murder people so far as we're aware. Which puts him streets ahead of some popes. And he apologised for a lot of the nasty stuff his predecessors had been responsible for. Which was nicer than actually doing those things. He told Dubya Bush that his war in Iraq was unchristian. He spoke against neoliberal globalisation. And he genuinely did a lot to raise the profile of poverty and global inequality as issues that need addressing.

But of course, as the first pope of an HIV positive world he also condemned millions of people to a slow and painful early death by his declaration of war against condoms. Which weighs heavily on the downside I'm afraid. As does ordering hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people not to practice birth control. That made him partly responsible for the staggering inequality he spent so long campaigning against.

So yeah, given that he had the power to make a significant dent in the spread of AIDS, yet failed to do so... that alone makes all of the current glowing obituaries sound hollow to my ears.

And is a perfect example of why the Holy See requires a complete change in direction. Vote for me Ratzinger! You know it makes sense.


Also, given that the blanket media coverage of the wedding between Camilla Parker-Bowles and Prince Charels was bound to be a deeply unpleasant experience for them both, they must be secretly toasting JP2's conveniently timed funeral.

4 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

But isn't one of the rules that you're not meant to campaign for the job?

4/4/05 15:41  
Blogger Ryan said...

The slogan on thousands of t-shirts will unexpectedly become true!

4/4/05 17:49  
Blogger L said...

I'm sure you would be a lot nicer to women than the last one was...

5/4/05 01:18  
Blogger Jim Bliss said...

Sorry iotar... but you made the cardinal sin (pun intended) of using my real name on the site, and so your comment has been zapped.

Incidentally y'all, it's not a hiding my face thing... you can find out who I am easily enough by popping along to cloud23.net... it's just about making sure this site doesn't come up when my name is googled. I sometimes use this place to 'vent'... and don't want Great Aunt Gertrude to be reading that stuff when she discovers how to use search engines.

So yeah, sorry iotar. It had nothing to do with silencing any potential competition for the papacy. Honest.

6/4/05 11:01  

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