Anyone who knows me knows that I have never for even a moment given serious consideration to Christian cosmology.
Sorry: I just can’t. It’s too cruel, too bloody, and too silly.
But I write here today to tell and celebrate the amazing tale of how Mr. Chips became Pope.
The Roman Catholic Church was rotting from the inside for a long time. John Paul II didn’t care about corruption, nor wrongdoing on the part of his priesthood–he just wanted to expand his market. Steadily pushing the ideology and areas of attention of the institution to the right, he allowed the Church to become so corrupt and so tarnished by the combination of being in the money laundering business and having high-level officials involved in deliberate indulgence of child molesting that Benedict, who never wanted anything more than to be the Emperor guy from Star Wars, actually *bailed* within mere months after finally gaining the throne.
So now the cardinals have a choice: Put in a member of the Pederastic Order and basically flunk the whole church out of the human race for good (probably break the bank, too–which is why the Vatican Bank guys were decidedly in the opposite camp)? Put in one of the Vatican Bank technocrats who’re all about the dough, and up to their necks in money-laundering for gangsters and drug runners…when all of that is about to come to light in pending investigations?
Neither is possible, because the reason both factions got to where they are is that they were holding each other hostage. Elevate one, and the other stops circling the wagons around the other faction’s particular weakness. This worked for a long time: particular individuals kept their status and power, but the institution ended up looking like…the Roman Catholic Church of today.
In cases like these, what is a corrupt and self-interested College of Cardinals, knowing its brand is in a tailspin, to do?
DING! Light goes on.
You appoint a USEFUL IDIOT.
A Boy Scout. A happy guy who looks like Peter Sellers, with a big warm grin, who says nice things about the poor. Someone the public will love so the institution’s image gets polished, but who is too sunny and naive to play hardball with the poisonous old lizards who have been running the show. Somebody from the hinterlands who can barely find Rome on a map.
A rube. Problem solved.
So before the worst of the banking scandal breaks, the Head Lizard hands off to a Useful Idiot from the slums of Panecuabrazirgentina, or something.
And finds out he has made a dreadful mistake.
The Useful Idiot turns out to be someone with opinions. And those opinions chop directly at pretty much everything the Head Lizard has been trying to turn the institution into for more than 30 years.
Moving back towards Vatican II. Decrying overemphasis on sexual issues like abortion and homosexuality while ignoring the plight of the poor. Recognizing the essential humanity of everyone. Stating that GOD WILL LOVE ATHEISTS, fer cryin’ out loud, so long as they behave as people of conscience. Who says (shudder!) that women need a larger role in the Church, and maybe we should look at priests being able to marry.
A guy who starts foot-washing female prisoners. Who spurns all the jewels and robes and dripping accumulations of power and wealth—the princely aspects of that medieval Prince’s office—and instead lives in a dorm with some guys, dresses simply, refuses to ride in a bulletproof box.
A guy who appoints commissions of Decidedly Not The Right People to root out corruption…meaning, people who might actually root out corruption. Who makes it clear that he doesn’t think particularly highly of either of the factions, and instead thinks there may be something in the stuff this Jesus guy supposedly said.
What is happening to the Catholic Church right now is something like the movie “Dave”. It’s so improbable that it has happened…and yet, it is the logical conclusion of the mess they got themselves in.
Throw out the money-lenders, Francis! I’m no Catholic, but I’m for ya.
At publication, the Dragon was DIGGIN’ IT.