I’ve made a big life decision and I’m hoping you can help me get through it. I announced this week that I would be resigning the papacy at the end of the month and beginning a life dedicated to prayer outside the public eye. I am in ill health and am simply too impaired to continue leading the Catholic faith. What should I do with my life now that I won’t be the infallible leader of a giant portion of the Christian faith? Do you have any tips to the cardinals that have to elect a new pope so soon, and one that has to deal with the specter of a still-living predecessor?
-His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
You’ve always been a fan of music, have you considered writing some new hymns or something? They could use a refresh and it’s something a man of 85 could get in to on a recreational basis. Now that we’ve got the advice portion of the column out of the way I want to speculate on what the hell must have happened for you to give up on a gig as cushy as being the Pope.
The easy thing to guess is that there’s about to be some major piece of priest sex abuse scandal about to break. They can get a kind of outsider Pope in there and say he had nothing to do with it and blame it all on you living in your quiet palace in Rome. That’s pretty boring though. What if someone has some great dirt on your Nazi days? Isn’t it strange that no one ever brings that up? You have a past that means you couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in the country of your birth but you got made the king of all Catholics. If people took bets on this kind of thing I would have my money on secret Nazi past but unfortunately the truth of all this will never come out and it won’t matter. Dark horse money would be on you’ve fallen in love and are leaving to conduct a secret affair. Grey horse money would be on that affair being with a dude, a hunky Vatican guard or something.
Picking a new pope is a harder matter altogether. I’ll be completely honest with you and say that I know nothing about rising stars in the Catholic Church to say nothing of the crusty old geezers most likely to take your place. I can say that the time has probably come to seriously consider a Hispanic pope. A plurality of the world’s Catholics live in South America and it also has the highest percentage of Catholics in the world. You might live in your golden palace in Italy but the religion has moved. Move with it or move over. I will confess that I hope the election of a non-white pope will lead to a schism and an antipope. Antipope is a fun word to say and I’d be down for some modern usage. Consider it will you?