Years and years of Catholic education did not prepare me for this week’s announcement that the Pope was going to retire. I had no idea that Popes were allowed to retire. In fairness to my former Catholic educators, it hasn’t happened in 600 years so maybe that’s why we never covered “Papal Retirement” in school.
I am probably not going to be the next Pope. Or the one after that. There are probably 100 reasons why I’ll never be Pope, but we are all busy today, so I’ll give you the top 5.
- I’m no longer a practicing Catholic. I am thinking this might be a “deal breaker.” Also, other than an abiding affection for Easter eggs and a childlike attachment to Christmas trees, I am moving in a Jewish-ish direction because of my
therapisthusband and his family traditions. (Any religion that offers both fasting and deeply fried potatoes knows a little something about balance and frankly, I want in.)
- I disagree with church policy on homosexuality. Yes, this would be a problem too. I wrote here about how I thought the Vatican should stop criticizing the American nuns who were too busy with social justice issues (like poverty) to advance the Church’s homophobic agenda. If I was the Pope, I would welcome any loving couple into my fold and ask them how I could serve them. But then I think Church law would require that I excommunicate myself.
- Italian food makes me bloat. If I became Pope, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t allow me to “work from home” or call in for conference calls with the bishops and cardinals. I’d have to move to Italy. And that’s gonna be a problem since I have been trying to cut back on my white flour and desserts. I can see it now: I am all dressed up with the tall, pointy hat and some bishop would be seeking my counsel about the law I just decreed that abortion is a woman’s right, and then suddenly out of the corner of my eye I would see someone walking through the plaza with gelato and I’d be all “let’s support women in new and radical ways by offering her solace and comfort in the event she gets an abortion and — hey, GELATO!”
- I don’t object to pre-marital sex. (FN1) Under my papal reign, that long-revered notion that there should be no sex outside of marriage would get a face life. Actually, it would get a full-blown transplant. I would steer the church away from the dogmatic rules and shove it towards the support and affirmation of pleasure, including sexual pleasure. I would give out condoms. To teenagers.
- All-male (mostly single) clergy? How long into the job before I started calling “BULLS*T” on this? 10 minutes? On the taxi ride from the Rome airport to the Vatican? Before passing through customs? I know it’s a tradition, but for the love of Michelangelo’s frescos, can we all agree that isn’t working so well? The only thing that has kept the Catholic Church’s pedophilic scandals out of the news recently is because of the news from the other great American religion: Football (see Penn State).
Good thing I am not bitter about the imprint that Catholicism made on my life, huh? Bitterness would not be part of my papal regime, but since I’m not Pope and never will be, I’ll keep stoking that bitterness. Thankyouverymuch.
FN 1: Recently, my mother mentioned she was reading my blog, so if she happens to see this post: (1) I never had premarital sex myself, and (2) I am eternally grateful for the superior education that my parents gave me through the Catholic institutions that I called my home for many years.