And other shocking revelations that ought to come as no
Maybe the pope really is quitting for health reasons
mean, he’s looked like a sickly villain out of a Bond film from day one and
hasn’t aged particularly gracefully since. Maybe what I took for nature taking
its toll on his natural boyish glowering looks was actually evidence of a
losing battle with ill-health.
But it still doesn’t pass the smell test because it’s the
pope’s job to die in office. It’s like the last line of the Pope Contract. The
job security on this gig makes Supreme Court justices look like migrant workers
lined up outside a Home Depot.
The news reports all agree it’s been 600 years since a pope
quit. Again, probably because all popes know that their last official act is supposed
to be dying in office. Then with the mourning period, the conclave of
cardinals, the white wisp of smoke… We’ve all read Dan Brown. We know how it
And popes milk their lifetime gigs. For 600 years now, not a
one of them has said, “Gee, I’m getting a little long in the tooth. Maybe I
should slow down and enjoy my golden years. Turn the store over to someone
younger, with fresh ideas.”
So why did this pope break with tradition? The new plan
still involves him dying on Vatican grounds, just at a cloistered nunnery
within, instead of on the golden throne.
The question arises unbidden: What is the advantage of going
from spiritual leader of umpteen million human beings and being one of the
richest men in the world… to moving in with a bunch of sexually-repressed women
who aren’t even allowed to speak? At a job where it’s part of your job
description to get sick and die while in office anyhow?
I gotta think it’s the whole not-speaking part. The last
thing I heard about this pope were allegations of his own
first-hand complicity in shuffling suspect priests off to unsuspecting new communities in the pedophile scandal that I expect will ultimately
financially destroy the Catholic church.
My suspicion is it’s more than Ratzinger not wanting to
preside over the demise of the venerable institution; I think he doesn’t
want to be the smoking gun that causes its extinction.
I can’t think of a better place to dodge both extradition
and media attention than a cloistered nunnery on the grounds of the Vatican,
officially its own country since 1929 when it was declared so by Benito Mussolini.
(Yes, that Benito Mussolini.)
Out of the public eye, this pope is guaranteed to take any
secrets he has with him to the grave. Out of the papacy, he won’t put a pope’s
face on the public scandal that is convulsing the church.
Nicely played, sir.
But without trying to be unkind, if you absolutely had to put a face to a centuries-long pedophilia
cover-up, you could do worse than this one: