February 1999
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Papal Smear

By Jessica Brandt

I have a theory about your pope. I say "your" pope, because he is not "my" pope. I am not Catholic. I do not believe that he has any mystical faerie powers as you people do. I do not wish to kiss his "papal ring" or give him an ugly trinket from my country. For I, gentle reader, am a Protestant! This means I will never feel guilty for anything, don't have to go to church if I don't want, and can join the KKK if so inclined.

But enough of my blasphemous ranting, and on with the theory.

Poor old Karol Wojtyla, the little Polish boy-- genius, artist, playwright (The Jewelelry Shop, 1960)-- was lured out of his homeland to live in a city/country-within-a-country for the rest of his life by none other than SATAN.

That's right-- Karol Wojtyla sold his soul to become pope.

At first it was all cool, you know. I mean, he got a much manlier name than "Karol," he got the big glass bubble car and got to dedicate his life to serving the Lord, which is nothing to scoff at. But as most soul-selling stories go, this one started out to be swell, but eventually got ugly.

"Satan," he said to Satan, "I want you to make me pope. If I am pope, I will be protected by God forever, and even if you own my soul, I will be POPE for Pete's sake, and I will go to heaven anyway."

"Allrightie, dude," said Satan. For Satan can be hip sometimes.

Being pope is "better" than being king. When you're king, you've got a direct phone line to every other king, the tabloids follow your every move, and when you refer to yourself in first person it's always "we," in reference to the kingdom.

When you're pope, you have a direct phone line to GOD, the tabloids are afraid to mock you, and when you say "we" you mean "ME AND GOD."

But it's also much worse than being king. For one thing, when you're pope, life is nothing but a series of pardons. All day, people line up at your door to grovel at your feet and kiss your chaffed hands. "I'm sorry senor, God forgive me, I have sinned!" And it's not like he's getting PAID to be there, like those televangelists who BEG for people to come and grovel. No, he has no choice!

There's also the "big trips" he takes, when he has to listen to stadiums full of people grovel and beg for forgiveness, and accept sombrerros and hockey jerseys that he'll never be able to wear in public because he has to wear all his pope clothes and his beanie. If that's not enough, he has to forgive the whole world of its sins, in fifty million languages! Yes, when you are pope, you have to know how to say "You are not evil" in fifty million languages! Absurd.

One other thing is that he has to contend with the state of the world. For instance, a mob boss will blow a few guys away, come to the pope, and the pope has no choice but to forgive him. Then he says "Don't sin again, my son." But the mob boss knows that all he has to do is come back to the pope and all will be forgiven. The pope can do nothing but comment on the state of the world today. He can make an official statement, with 300 billion folks tuning in on the tele, which warns of the evil that surrounds us and the straight path to Hell that we're all on-- and the people all bow their heads and say "You know, he's right! GOD BLESS THE POPE!" But when he leaves, they're all back to mopping the floors with eachother. The pope is a connumdrum in himself.

But that is just the way things happen when you sell your soul to be the pope.

So anyway, they took him to The Vatican, changed his name, gave him one set of clothes and locked the door behind him. All this because a young Cardinal wanted nothing more than to be God's "number one son" (besides Jesus, that is). After 20 or so years of "popedom," everything wonderful began to fall apart and he realized what a terrible mistake .

Satan failed to tell Karol the "hitch" to the whole soul-selling deal (as Satan will often do). The hitch is that he will live forever as pope, and have to spend the rest of his life as a hunched over little man with a beanie, no longer the sharp-witted monk he once was. He will have to spend eternity with Catholic women washing his feet for forgiveness and small children from foreign countries looking upon him with wide, scared eyes. He will never own a Saturn, for it doesn't come with the pope-bubble.

So, God have mercy on the pope! GOD HAVE MERCY! All you people should lay off the poor man for a few decades. Let him have his fun. Maybe he wants to go to Mexico simply for a romp in "beautiful, sunny Puerta Vallarta Mexico," not to bless a crowd of tequila drinking folks who thought it was a Beatles concert at the bull stadium that day.

Maybe you can all become Protestants for a bit. I'm not saying that Protestantism is all that-- we certainlly do not have the savvy decorating sense that you lovely Catholics do, but being a Protestant is sort of like staying in a summer home-- not in the Hamptons, more like in the Pennsylvania backwoods. Quaint.

If the pope is reading this (as it is reported he frequently does) I just want to say that I feel for you, man! I know how hard it is to be a Holy Person. Or at least, I have some general idea. I read it in a book once.

If you ever come to Cleveland, dude, you've got a place to stay. I promise I won't give you a sombrerro.

Buy The Jeweler's Shop now, From Amazon.com!

Or, in keeping with this month's theme of love and relationships, check out Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla

Editor's note: Nasty emails, death threats, hexes, and satanical praises should be sent to A Bad Christian and not to The Shrub. We need all the Papal Blessings we can get.

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