Some papal musings

February 21st, 2013

For the first time in over 600 years, the Holy Father has resigned. This has many theologians pondering the big questions – who will be next? Was it a good thing or a bad thing? What do we give Benedict as a going away present – a box of discounted post-Valentine’s Day chocolates or a T-shirt that says, “I was Pope and all they gave me was this lousy shirt”?

This might seem like a lot for the world’s biggest institution to handle; fortunately, we’re not asking McDonald’s to handle it. But the Church is also a pretty big institution, and they have some work to do on this issue.

Once again, I have stepped up as a penitent man and a true Cath-o-holic and taken it upon myself to help my fellow holier-than-thous solve this issue.

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to most of my readers that I think I would make a good candidate for pope. If you don’t think I’m qualified, then humor me for just a few minutes, and I’ll humor you.

Reason number one: I have the time. Just over a month ago, I formally conceded the presidential race to Barack Obama. He won, fair and square. But that opens up a huge block of time in my schedule during which I had planned to be president. Initially, I was going to use this time to campaign for my 2016 election; but if there is an open post in Rome, I figure I might as well step up. What can I say, I love to volunteer.

Numero dos: I have some really great ideas for the Church. One of the biggest criticisms the Catholic Church receives is that the law is from the stone age of religion – no women priests, no gay marriage, no blimp tours of the Vatican. I would resolve all these issues and more.

I must commend Pope Benedict XVI for one thing – he was the first pope to really use Twitter. With just over 1.5 million followers, I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job. But get this – he’s only following eight other accounts, and they’re all his own accounts, just in different languages. I mean, shouldn’t God be one of the accounts he is following? And how does His Holiness expect to relate to his younger audience if he doesn’t occasionally use the hashtag “90sGirlProblems”? If I were elected pope, I would use Twitter way more holily.

I also think the Sistine Chapel could use a facelift. Don’t get me wrong – Michelangelo was great. But Renaissance Italian church art is so mainstream. I think the modern Catholic audience identifies more with the hipster culture; and what’s more hipster for the Church than an indie thinker like Salvador Dali? The new design to replace “The Creation of Adam” would of course be called “Melting Fish.”

Reason three that I would be a good Shepherd of the Church: My name. Did you really think I was going to go through this whole column without a name pun? Come on now, you know me better than that.

So far, every pope has chosen a new name for himself upon accepting the title and the accompanying pope-hat. As much as I would love to change my name to something epic, like Pope Achilleus (patron of journalists and writers), my name already has a papal ring to it – Papa Bayer. I was born for this.

I do understand that I can’t go from layman to Pope just like that, though. It helps to at least be a Cardinal first. But I think I incidentally took care of that this weekend while watching “The Notebook” with my friend’s parrot, Barney. After the movie, Barney said to me in no uncertain terms, “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.” Since he is in fact a bird, I guess that means I am too. And I choose to be a cardinal. Problem solved.

My last point of order is writing an encyclical. For those of you non-Catholics out there, an encyclical is a letter that a pope writes detailing Church philosophy, and in many ways it is their legacy. For example, JP II was best known for his encyclical about the human body.

For me, I would probably just translate my columns into Latin. Thing is, I’m a senior, and I don’t really want to do that much work.

Now, much like Benedict, I’m pretty tired, so I’m going to go take a nap. And if I see white smoke when I wake up, I will assume that you have made me your new Supreme Pontiff (or maybe I just left my unlevened cookies in the oven too long).

Peace be with you,

Papa Bayer.