First off, my condolences on the whole Benedict situation. It can't be easy for you guys right now. To have to sit back and play along as your guy becomes the first pontiff in more than 700 years to resign because he says his health made it impossible to "adequately fulfill the ministry" can't be fun. I mean, don't get me wrong, Catholics can be pretty naive, but to expect people to believe the health thing is really asking a lot -- even by your standards. I mean, the last guy you had was a traveling cadaver for like seven years before you guys walked away on the whole "Weekend at Bernie's" ruse and let him die in peace. Look, I know you guys will eventually get through this little setback, and it'll be business as usual in the Vatican. But in the mean time, do you mind if I offer some constructive criticism, as well as a new idea? You don't have to take me up on it. Just mull it over, and see if it makes sense.
Now I know you're really busy gearing up for big election, and I'm guessing it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say you guys are probably gonna elect another really old white guy again. Am I right? For argument's sake, let's just say that "health" really is old Bene's reason for stepping down. Well, then why in God's name would you leave yourself wide open to the same thing by going with another blue-hair. Do you guys have any idea how terrible old people's bodies actually are? These elderly men are like American-made cars with over 85,000 miles on them: If they start up in the morning without any problems, you feel like you caught a break. Is that really the type of vehicle you want to lead the Church and shepherd an easily misled flock. And that's only the physical health we're talking about guys. Imagine what can happen if the new pope develops some form of dementia, and it just happens to show up for the first time when he's giving one of his giant speeches. You'd look pretty foolish, if your Numero Uno was out there on that beautiful balcony telling scores of his adoring followers to "get off his g#d@mn property before he calls the cops" because he got a little mixed up.
So what am I saying here? Well, I'm here to make you an offer: Let me try the whole pope thing for 30 days. If it doesn't work out, I just walk away; no harm, no foul. After all, I can't do any worse than the last guy did, right? If you like what you see after that initial trial run, then you give me a one-year contract, and we talk again after that year's up. The Philadelphia 76ers (a professional basketball team) did a similar thing with Andrew Bynum this year, and I PROMISE you guys my papacy is guaranteed to work out better than that.
Why me? What makes this Polish blogger from Norristown, PA, qualified to take over the most important role in the Catholic Church. Well, a lot things, frankly. But I'll just bullet out the major ones, and let you guys come to your own conclusion.
- Health. Look, I know I've been harping on you guys about the whole really, really old pope tradition you've got, but it can't be stressed enough: If you want to limit the potential problems with the next pope, you've got to start by not electing a guy who's on the back nine of his time in this world. At 31, I'm no kid, but I'm young enough that you don't have to constantly live in fear that some routine ailment could be the end of me. And don't tell me that's not a concern. A urinary tract infection almost took out JP2. Plus, I'm relatively healthy. Aside from some moderate drinking and the occasional Adderall use, I try to keep in shape and eat right. Last year, I even ran the Broad Street Run -- a 10 mile road race through the heart of Philadelphia -- at around an eight-and-a-half-minute-per-mile pace. So, from a health perspective, all you've got to worry with me is: A.) some terrible disease (like cancer or Fibromyalgia); B.) A freak accident (leaning to far over the balcony while waving to my flock and plummeting headlong to my death); or C.) Assassination, the chances of which, I'll grant you, will probably increase significantly if you elect me as pope.
- Experience. Where to start? Well, I was an altar server from grade four through grade eight, as well as a lectern in grades nine and ten. Need more? I beat out 13 of my eighth grade classmates to land the role of Jesus Christ, Son of God, in the 1997 edition of St. Paul Roman Catholic Church's "Passion Play" -- sometimes referred to as "The Living Stations." Not only did I rise to occasion, but I actually delivered a performance that was so moving several members of the congregation wept visibly. Mrs. Kelly, an eccentric and the director of our choir, told me my performance "moved her from the bowels of her spirit to the fires of her loins." I never actually figured out what she meant by that, but it sounds quite good. I'm not going to sit here and tell you the Lord was speaking directly through me during that magical performance, but I'm not going to deny it, either.
- Relatability. In addition to the credentials I've laid out above, I attended Catholic School for 13 years. Because of this, I rarely attend Mass today. Aside from weddings, funerals and the big two (Christmas and Easter), you'd be hard-pressed to find me inside a house of God celebrating a Catholic Mass. In fact, I can guarantee you that I've spent more Sunday mornings wandering around WaWa searching for greasy hangover cures than I ever have inside a church. Why would I admit something like that to you? Because I'm the poster child for today's Catholics. After spending a good chunk of my formative years being indoctrinated in all of the fear and the shame and the guilt that goes along with being Catholic, I walked away from the Church determined to never look back. However, no matter how far I strayed, the guilt and the shame and the fear have always stayed right there with me. Look, even though I'm not what you'd call a "good" or a "practicing" Catholic, there will always be a small part of me that's terrified of the tiny possibility that you guys just might be right about the whole eternal fire that awaits sinners, non-believers and the misguided people of all those other silly religions. So even when my anger toward the Church is at it's worst, my training still manages to rein me back in and say, "Whoa, there! Easy with the Catholic-bashing. After all, you just never know ..." And I wholeheartedly believe the majority of Catholics -- at least the ones that's don't already have one foot in the grave -- are more like me than you. Therefore, with the right marketing strategy -- and a few heartfelt, I-used-to-be-just-like-you-guys speeches from me -- we can change the waning popularity that's been plaguing the Catholic Church and bring in a whole new audience to boot!
- Culpability -- a lack therof. Speaking of Catholic-bashing, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse or anything, but I don't think the whole scandal thing is going away any time soon. Now, I'm just being real with you here: You have a better shot at convincing Stephen Hawking that the world really was created in seven days than you do at finding a qualified, high-ranking cardinal who hasn't been at least a little bit complicit in covering up something that kinda-sorta-maybe should've been handled in a completely different way. That's a non-issue with this guy. You want to know why? Because the bulk of my knowledge on the scandal comes from jokes made by stand-up comedians -- e.g., "sweating like a priest at a little league game," etc., etc. If I'm Pope, the media can dig all they want, they'll tie me to anything that would reflect poorly on you guys*. Can you honestly say that about any of your other papal candidates?
Well, that's all I got. Like I said, think about it. If you like what you read, Google me -- or just respond to this email**.
* I'm obviously only referring to my involvement in the scandal and not things like this.
** This email was sent to the only contact email I could find on Vatican's website; however, I'm considering sending it to U.S. Cardinal Roger Mahony's Facebook page, as well.