It’s PopeGate’13, people. All hands on deck. I am here to answer all of your questions about the Benedict XVI resignation and will not be quitting on this task, because there is no way that my strength of body and mind “has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” I will fulfill my ministry, dammit.
So, what’s all this then?
Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation earlier today. Or maybe either yesterday or tomorrow because he’s in Italy and time zones are confusing.
Oh, that’s too bad, I really liked him.
No, you’re thinking of John Paul II.
Are you sure?
Yeah. JPII was the one who rode around in a snow globe and had breakdancers brought in for his own amusement.
Now that’s what I call Popin’ And Lockin’!!!!
I can’t tell if you’re mocking me.
It’s hard to determine tone from the written word.
True. Anyway, Benedict XVI is the one who looks like a more evil version of Emperor Palpatine.
He does look pretty frail. Is poor health the reason for his resignation?
Health concerns certainly are legitimate. But recent Popes proposed Papal plans to resign in the event of such things as incurable disease or capture by Nazis. Benedict XVI has made no mention of either of those events occurring. And no Pope has actually resigned since 1415.
So… you don’t know for sure?
In times like this where there is very limited information, the most logical thing to do is arbitrarily pick a side and fill in the facts so as to fit everything into one neat narrative. For the record, I’m going with the “The Butler Who Knew Too Much.” “Papal Money Laundering Scheme” is a close second.
I choose the “this is a noble act by an unfailingly honorable man.” But why didn’t Ben–is it alright if I call him Ben?
Pope Benedict XVI is better.
Perhaps I could call him by his birth name, provided it’s not something too sinister and villainous-sounding.
Herr Joseph Ratzinger.
Pope Benedict XVI it is.
Are there any other Papal Resignations to take note of? And is “Papal Resignation” an available name for my band? We dress like 1890s-era orphans and have a person whose only job is to play the triangle.
The best known resignation was that of Celestine V, who, five months into his reign of Popeliness, declared that he could resign. And then celebrated by living out the rest of his days as a hermit.
Good segue into my next question…so, what’s a Pope to do, now?
Spending more time with his family is out. So, uh, maybe he’ll hermit it up. Constantly micromanage the next Pope? Maybe he plans to become the first Pope ever to win re-election. Also, avoid responsibility for the whole child rape thing his Church has been enabling for decades and decades. Writing letters to a newspaper and doing some gardening would be a good hobby. He’s basically a less snooty version of a Downton Abbey character at this point. And for some reason, I’m pretty sure the Pope is really big into The Closer and has been meaning to get caught up on it.
Wait, that child rape thing… is there any chance that might have something to do with the first Papal resignation in nearly 700 years?
Naaaah… There’s nothing unusual about someone devoting their entire life to a specific organization, rising to that organization’s highest rank (which also makes you an international figure of immense importance and fame) and then quitting abruptly. Let’s move on.
At a little over seven years, this has to be one of the shorter papacies, yeah?
Not really. There’s been at least 10 papacies that lasted less that forty days, including that of the terrifying looking Pope Marsellus II. Keep in mind that the Catholic Church is over a thousand years old, and predates things such as “non-leech-based medicine” and “humans living for more than than twenty five years.”
Has any good come from his reign?
That’s a relief.
So who’s going to be the next Pope then? It’s gotta be an African or a South American this time, right?
Well, that’s what everyone said last time and then they went and picked a former member of the Hitler Youth. So, you never can tell.
Any chance of an American winning?
Timothy Dolan, current Archbishop of New York is a contender.
And any reason to be concerned about him?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but he is believed to have gone for the “cover up everything” approach when dealing with a child rape scandal. But I mean, if we eliminate people who covered for child rapists, there’s hardly anyone to choose from. Maybe Bono.
That’s kinda a grim note to end on here, but I guess we can’t really talk about the Catholic Church these days without bringing up child rape.
And that’s why nobody is a particularly big fan of Pope Benedict XVI.