Tonight the evening news announced that the world had a new pope. Er no. Only Catholics got a new head guy in a funny hat and red shoes. Apparently if he taps them together he gets to go back to Argentina.
It was funny to see every fawning and obsequious news anchor on the planet jockeying for space around St Peter’s square. They with their crews and producers and the thousands of tourists flooded into Rome spending money on food, swag and hotels. Same as it ever was. Say what you will about the Catholic church they sure know how to put on a show and they have been getting the punters into Rome for two thousand years with this schtick. In the old days, gangs in the pay of the Vatican would rob you of any money you didn’t leave in Rome. Today, Romans just fleece you with fifteen buck espressos.
Lots of red robes and pointy hats and a lot of gold. They literally hold their meetings inside a priceless masterpiece. The difference for them is they just walk into the Sistine Chapel whereas hapless tourists have to walk six miles through the Vatican museum and through the gift shop. Again same as it ever was. Only now they sell God touching Adam tea towels as opposed to hall passes out of purgatory.
I wonder how many of the world’s poor would be helped with all the money spent on this spectacle.
So they did pick the first non-European for close to two thousand years. Although he has an Italian last name, so let’s not get too excited. I mean for heaven’s sake they have only just got their head around this whole earth going around the sun thing, so it’s going to take some time before they start getting their heads around giving the keys to some guy from the dark continent.
The nice thing about the Catholic church is of course continuity. And so we pass from an Austrian with a complicated relationship with the Nazis to an Argentinean with a really close relationship with the fascist military junta in the 70s and 80s. Nice. Friend of the poor. Just not left wing ingrate ones.
Odd that this is the first Pope Francis, although that is probably something to do with him being a Jesuit and Francis Xavier being one too. You know those Catholic hierarchies–more internal sects and gangs than the New York mob. They are also nastier too.
I have only met one Jesuit. He used to come to my school–yes I did go to Catholic school—and he creeped everyone out. You definitely didn’t want to be alone with him. Our young naïve minds didn’t know what it was, but we knew something was up. No one knew why he showed up. He’d just drop in to see how the teaching was going….tending to his flock I think was the term. I think it is called grooming these days. I don’t want to paint all Jesuits with the same brush, but you know 99 percent always spoil it for the other one percent.
The new pope is also a young wippersnapper at 76. He became an adult in 1955. Before Elvis. Before Sputnik. Before the women’s movement. Before HGTV. Even before England won the World Cup and that was freaking ages ago. So, I wouldn’t expect a twitter account and a linkedin profile any time soon. Although Ratzenberger did start a facebook page. Status update retired and looking.
The nice thing about the Catholic church is of course continuity. And so we pass from an Austrian with a complicated relationship with the Nazis to an Argentinean with a really close relationship with the fascist military junta in the 70s and 80s. Nice.
Sort of has you yearning for Borgias. At least they were fun.
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