When I am Pope

Last week Pope Benedict shocked the world when he announced that he will resign the Throne of St. Peter, so that he can cash in on Social Security before all the Baby Boomers suck it dry. No Pope has done this since 1782, when Pope Benedict Arnold defeated the British at the Battle of Yorktown.

With Pope Benedict’s departure everyone is abuzz with who will be the next pope. At this point it could be anyone—the twenty-first century is crazy like that. Barack Obama got a Nobel Prize purely for “not being George W. Bush.” Since some Catholics are Swedes, they might try nominating other people based on this criteria. Maybe even Barack Obama. Maybe me.

By tradition, when you become pope you get to select a new pope name. This is because, historically, most popes rack up bad credit just out of college, and need a new identity to qualify for a mortgage. I shall be known as Pope Palpatine The Ironfisted.

I’ve chosen this name to dissuade heretics from trifling with me. If I chose a sissy name you can be sure that quicker than anything Cathars in France  would start tweeting heresy all over the damn place, forcing me to invade Paris to smash them.As pope it’s important that I vanquish enemies based on my own capricious whims, not when prompted by Twitter. Yes, I will invade France, but on my own schedule.

I have a lot of ideas for reform, too: reaching out to the developing world, allowing priests to marry, reorganizing bishoprics, and punishing mine enemies by forcing them to fight to the death in the Pit of Terror.

Most Catholics now live in Africa and Central or South America, so we should shift the church’s leadership that direction. I pledge to create ten new cardinals and twelve blue jays between these continents. We’ll direct much of the Vatican’s wealth to improving water supplies, and to capture heretics to fight in my newly expanded Pit of Terror, which will look astonishingly like sets from the movie Tron.

Not only do I pledge to lift the ban on priests marrying, I will also be pretty soft on enforcing monogamy in general. Particularly for me, the pope.

This might irritate my girlfriend, slightly, who is always emphasizing how important “commitment” is,  or asking me to quit yelling about banishing Paul Krugman to the Pit of Terror, or saying things like, “Andrew, hon, will you please quit cackling and rubbing your hands together and mumbling about the Pit of Terror when we’re at the movies?”

I will carefully explain to her, as with all of my papal mistresses, that as pope I favor love, and love without restrictions. Just like there are no rules governing the fights to the death in my hellish subterranean Pit of Terror where Paul Krugman will soon spend his last pitiful moments running from armor-plated crocodiles. Because love is the most important thing in life.

There are many other things to consider, of course. Will I move on to Vatican III, or digitally re-master Vaticans I and II to be re-released in select theaters? Will there be one gigantic Pit of Terror, or smaller regional Pits of Terror to accommodate France after I invade it? Will I build a Papal Moon Base, or simply install clutch of nuclear weapons set to launch if my heart stops?

These are all good questions, but I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. We don’t even know for sure that I’ll be pope yet.

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