By Darren Johnson
We have a new pope. This is actually pretty major news. I know we think big of the American Presidency, and surely the President has more actual power than a pope, what with the killer drones and such, but presidents only serve 4-8 years and the United States has only about 300 million people. The United States is young, too, for a country – just 237 years old. Meanwhile, the Church is about 2000 years old, with over 1.2 billion members. It shaped Western Civilization, which is the dominant world culture right now, and popes – up until this last one – serve for life.
OK, this new guy, Francis, is no spring chicken. “Life” may not be more than the typical presidency. And it seems popes get caught in the quagmire of worrying about issues related to sex. Sex, sex, sex. From an – by definition – abstinent bunch, it seems like that’s all we hear about.
Considering the glacial pace of change in the Catholic Church, we can’t expect this guy to totally catch up to the times. Frankly, if he can get condom use acceptable, that would be considered a victory. He also has to once and for all clear up the pedophilia scandal. Last, he should make the church’s financial accounting more transparent. Where does all that money go?
Sure, it would be great if he ushered in an era with female priests, maybe married clergy, even, but let’s be realistic. The guy is 67, and that’s a tall order. If at the very least he could make Mass more tolerable for people under 50 to endure, that could be his legacy. Make going to church cool again. Stop all the judging of practically everyone.
But considering that he really has so little real power – he’s like the Joe Biden of religion – maybe this pope could actually use the papacy as a bully pulpit. Maybe he should become one of these talking heads who appear on CNN and MSNBC.
I mean, if the pope weighed in on topical issues, he probably could get a lot done. It doesn’t matter that he actually doesn’t have power to makes laws. Just his words could change things. Who would dare defy God’s representative on earth?
For example, David Letterman recently had Mayor Bloomberg on about his sugary soda ban. It was pretty one-sided. Say CBS then cut to a remote with Pope Francis?
“Pope Francis, what do you think about all this?” Letterman could ask a video screen featuring Pope Francis live at the Vatican.
Then the Pope could bow his head reflectively, “Let-a the pee-ple drink-a da shu-gah.”
And Letterman could say, “There you have it, Mayor,” while Bloomberg clenches his fist and says, “Drats! Foiled again!”
Problem solved. We get our sugary drinks. Now that’s accomplishing something.
I’d also ask the pope to call the IOC and get wrestling reinstated as an Olympic sport. It’s ridiculous that it is not an official event anymore. It would take the pope, what, a couple of minutes? Think of how happy that would make so many wrestlers and wrestling fans.
“Mis-sta Chair-a-man, you must-a reinstate-a the wrestling-a,” the pope would say over the phone, “both-a the free-a-style and the Greco-Roman-a.”
What could the IOC do? Pinned! Super-Fly-Snuka’d! Camel-Clutched! Wrestling’s back! Hooray!
While he’s at it, I’d also like him to call David Byrne and the rest of the Talking Heads. Except for a few awkward songs at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, they haven’t played together since the 1980s, even though all of them are healthy, and there’s no good reason why not. This band could really bring back rock and roll, and make a lot of people happy. They’d fill stadiums. Plus, they’d make a fortune!
“What is a wrong-a with-a you?!” the pope could start off with his call to Byrne, who really is the holdout. “You are-a creative, no-a doubt-a about-a that-a, but you friends-a, they a need-a you. Go-a play the ‘Psycho-a Killer’ and the ‘Burning-a Down the House-a’ again.”
And, a few months later, you’d see me sitting in Row EE at Giants Stadium with a Pepsi the size of my head, rocking out to the best band that … ever … was. That would make me a happy Catholic.
“Woo-hoo, Francis – best pope ever!” I’d call out between songs!”
Maybe I’d even go to church again, for more than just weddings and funerals.
Let’s have a pontiff with an opinion. A talking head who brings back the Talking Heads. Amen, and, rock on!