Dear College of Cardinals,
I greatly appreciate this opportunity to apply for the position of Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God, or, ya know… Pope.
For six years, I have been an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church that was founded in 1959 by Kirby J. Hensley in his garage in Modesto, California (which means I filled out the short online form on the website and instantly received my ordination certificate via email). Although, during my tenure as minister I have done absolutely nothing I would necessarily call “ministerial,” besides occasionally telling people I was an ordained minister, and if they expressed disbelief, showing them my certificate printed off from the email. But, make no mistake, I could minister the shit outta stuff if needs be. I am also already a Pope in the Church of Discordia. I know I’m a Discordian Pope because I have an official Pope card, which reads, “THE BEARER OF THIS CARD IS A GENUINE AND AUTHORIZED POPE … So please Treat Him Right.” I can assure you that this card is genuine and authorized by the House of Apostles of ERIS, and I have it on good authority that the card never expires (it says so right on the card). For further verification of my Pope-iness, please consult your pineal gland.
Now, I can understand that I might be a controversial choice because I am not currently a Catholic cardinal, but it wouldn’t be the first time a non-cardinal has been selected for Supreme Pontiff (ahem… Pope Urban VI in 1379, amIright?). And, look, we all know the Holy See has experienced the occasional controversy or two over the preceding centuries, such as, oh, I dunno, let’s see… the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the persecution of the Cathars, the Knights Templar, Galileo, Joan of Arc, Jan Hus, William Tyndale, medieval witch hunts, cooperating with and refusing to denounce the Nazis, shady dealings and connections to the Mafia, preaching abstinence and against contraception in the Third World thereby exacerbating the spread of AIDS, numerous accusations of cut-throat for-profit ventures and money laundering, and the thousands upon thousands of cases of horrific child abuse and cover-up at the highest levels of the Vatican… But, ya know, besides that handful of trifling tidbits, you guys’ record is pretty pristine. So, we shouldn’t let a little thing like controversy keep me from being the Holy Father.
However, if truth be told, I’m actually not even Catholic. I realize that, according to canon law, of the criteria for Pope eligibility, I only meet one, which is that I am a human male above the “age of reason” (seven years-old). And considering I am unsure of the “divinity” of Christ and fully reject the Nicene Creed and the Doctrine of the Trinity, well, I guess that means I’m a heretic. Actually, as an agnostic, I reject every single Catholic creed and doctrine codified by the bishops in each and every ecumenical council since the First Council of Nicaea in the Fourth century. But I’m not worried about these apostatic tendencies disqualifying me from for the papacy. Wanna know why? Let me explain…
It’s pretty simple, really. Unlike a great deal of your followers, I’ve actually read the Bible, fully immersed myself in the accounts of all of the ecumenical councils and the history of the Church, and I know there is absolutely no plausible way you people believe this shit. You see, I would make an excellent candidate for this position because, besides the fact that I would totally rock that crazy hat, I will, at long last, admit that the jig is finally up and acknowledge what many others have long figured out or suspected: that the Catholic Church has been the greatest Andy Kaufmann-esque prank the world has ever seen. A triune “God” with each member composed of the same “substance”, transubstantiation, infallibility, stigmata, indulgences, exorcisms? C’mon.. you guys are just trolling the world. I know that admitting to a prank of this scale takes a lot of the steam out of the humor, but I think it’s high time the Catholic Church gave up the ghost and take its due credit for perpetrating the longest-running and most-ambitious practical joke since the dawn of civilization.
As someone who has been known to pull a prank or two (I once briefly convinced a friend that he was the victim of a wrong-man scenario whereby an evil corporation in conjunction with the Mafia was hunting him because they had mistaken him for a missing whistle blower with the same name—oh, the laughs we had), I have extensive experience with and great appreciation for the meticulous nature of what makes a good prank. But, let’s be honest, the whole Catholic ruse has really kinda runs its course, hasn’t it? You’ve now got over a billion people fooled. I think we can all agree this has gotten a bit out of hand.
So, what I advocate is to elect me Pope, blow the white smoke Bat-signal from the chimney, and I’ll bound out for one final papal blessing in St. Peter’s Square. I’ll get all Poped-out in the silly hat and prom gown and whatnot, and then, after giving one last benediction with a shit-eating grin and jazz hands, I’ll muster a pensive demeanor and solemnly announce to the congregation that, “OK… the joke’s over, folks.” And pimp away. Forever. No further explanation needed. Then we’ll all hang up our frocks, close up the Vatican gift shop, and start holidaying in the South of France and occasionally hitting up the Vegas show circuit to bust out the Catholic greatest hits for a little extra scratch…. Eh? … So, whatduya think? Pope Paul VII? Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
W. Paul Smith