So there’s this so far adorably unsourced bunch of stories saying that the Cardinals (the Roman ones, not the baseball ones) are going to ask the new Pope to pledge in his first Papal (not Paypal) address, that he will serve for the whole rest of his life, and not like resign suddenly or anything.
And that strikes me as just bizarre.
I mean, this last Pope just now says that he resigned because after deep contemplation and all he realized that God wanted him to. So the cardinals must either think that he is mistaken about that (this guy who is supposedly God’s own chief representative on Earth, and who is officially infallible about various things, although admittedly not very many and not this, but still who you have to think must be supposedly Very Good At figuring out what God wants), or they want the next Pope to pledge not to resign even if God wants him to.
And secondarily, it seems that the cure could well be worse than the disease here, imagining a Pope with Tourette’s and dementia, in the middle of his Easter address or whatever launching into an obscenity-laced rant about how the Prince of Wales has stolen his slippers again or whatever, on international teevee.
After a little thought, and M pointing out that they were afraid something like the latter might happen with Pope John Paul or somebody just before he died, it occurs to me that if one were deeply cynical it’d be pretty easy to explain, thus:
- The Cardinals and the Curia and all of course don’t believe any of the teachings of the church to speak of (that’s just for the rubes), so all that stuff about the Pope doing things because he wisely determines what God wants is just irrelevant to them, and this fact occasionally slips out; and
- If some Pope did get Tourette’s and/or dementia, he would just conveniently die of oh-so-natural causes just like John Paul or whoever conveniently did, before it got too embarassing.
Which brings to mind all sorts of questions about Papal Poisoners! Are the Poisoner To The Pope and the Poisoner Of The Pope the same office, or different ones? (venefica ad papam versus venefica pape, perhaps?) If they are different offices, are they always / sometimes / never held by the same person? If at least sometimes by different persons, do they tend to be respected colleagues, arch-rivals, or something in between? Have there been any occasions where the venefica ad papam was used to head off the venefica pape? (Not counting the Borgia Popes and their set, who presumably did this sort of thing regularly just to pass the time.) And exactly what sort of authorization does the Poisoner Of The Pope need to be given before he sets to work? And, does he wear cool robes?
Of course one would have to be not only deeply cynical, but probably some sort of lunatic to actually believe that any of this is true, but it does sound like a rollicking good yarn.
Dan, Bubbeleh, give me a buzz; we’ll talk!
Update: just so I don’t lose it I meant to link to this story here (credit again to M): Daily Mail speculation on why he really resigned. More source material for Dan!