TO: Pope, The New
FROM: The Angry Czeck
RE: Please Don’t Fuck This Up
Congratulations for being elected The Pope. All of us American Catholics really liked the Old Pope, John Paul II, so you come in with high expectations.
Not that we really ever listened to Pope John Paul II. We liked him because he was the first Pope you could hang out with. A Pope that made your forget that you had to kiss his ring before speaking to him. A Pope who could ski. We gave him credit for dismantling Communism, making peace with Muslims, apologizing to Jews for past atrocities and spreading Christianity to Africa. We appreciated that, unlike the Popes of the last 400 years, he wasn’t just another Italian cleric with a mandate for More-of-the-Same.
So we hailed Pope John Paul II, even though we ignored his antiquated edicts concerning birth control. We admired Pope John Paul II even when he blamed the pedophile scandal here in the States as an evil product of homosexuality — and then did nothing. We marveled at Pope John Paul’s command of different languages, but he remained noticeably silent on issues like women in the clergy and marriage for priests.
This is your chance, New Pope, to get it right. I understand that a religion of 1.2 billion people has become more a political force than a spiritual one. I realize that making pronouncements that will alter the lives of one-sixth of the world cannot be rendered in one night.
But try. Try anyway.
You’ll have plenty of backwards Cardinals and Bishops advising you to adhere to the same ancient argument: “It never was, so it shouldn’t be.” But you are smarter than that. You’ll see the intelligence of allowing marriage for priests so that becoming a servant of God is a little more attractive to people other than criminals. You’ll understand that condoms prevent the spread of AIDs and reduce family sizes so that everybody gets to eat at night. You may even discover that being a homosexual doesn’t make you a pedophile, but being a pedophile makes you a pedophile. And the solution is not to move a pedophile to another parish, but to move him into a prison.
But you will be advised to resist. To stay the course. Your counsel will not see that most modern Catholics are re-forging their religion so that it makes sense in today’s world. Your advisors will fail to realize that too many Catholics view the Pope as just a guy wearing a big hat.
Make the papacy relevant again, New Pope. Do it now, before 1.2 billion people decide that Martin Luther had it all figured out, and the Catholic Church melts into obscurity. You have a lot of people counting on you. Including The Angry Czeck, who is looking to you to lead us. Amen.