Exitio Papa

I can’t wait for the ceremony where they retire his number: a giant Pontiff hat, emblazoned with “XVI”, being lifted up into the rafters at the Vatican Staples Center.

What strikes me as amusing about this whole deal is how… *medieval* it all is. People running around consulting the rules to see if the Pope is even “allowed” to resign, and whether he resigned appropriately, following the correct, completely made-up procedures that last made sense some 600 years ago. And the rules being consulted are the same ones that up until mid-last century required the Pope to be banged on the noggin with a special silver hammer to confirm that he was dead.

What would they do, one wonders, if it was decided he *wasn’t* allowed to retire? It’s a safe bet that somewhere in the arcana there’s a whole written procedure for that too, involving sequestering the Pope onto a golden throne with a magical golden Pope lasso, and appointing a Cardinal to interpret God’s will using phrenology or–Himself forbid–uroscopy. All perfectly ritualized and followed strictly and religiously to the letter, when not a jot of it appears in the Bible anywhere.

I’m not gloating over his resignation, as many others have over the social media, in a “Ha ha! Ding dong, the witch is dead!” kind of way: it’s not like they’re done churning them out… there have been 265 Popes in a (non-sequential) row. I’m sure there will be another one along soon, and I can guarantee it won’t be a woman, or a gay married black man. Nor will the newly-elect have a better attitude towards those two groups than the current one. Or the previous 264 for that matter.

Well, maybe Pope Joan.

But for now, I’m happy to watch the whole medieval process unfold. I’m hoping he will follow the retirement path of another controversial public figure who quit the job they had once insisted God had specially chosen them for: Sarah Palin’s. A reality show, a job as a commentator for Fox News, a series of public comments demonstrating how out of touch with reality they are, losing the commentator job and then a quick spiral into irrelevance and obscurity (minus the occasional Tweet from @X-Pontifex).

Meanwhile, I’ll sit by the phone and wonder if the Cardinals will ever call, while writing “Pope Pacheco” over and over in the pages of my 13th-century vellum Trapper Keeper.

Sigh. Humans are weird.


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