By Mike Redmond
— As a Roman Catholic male, I am eligible to become Pope.
Granted, it's something of a long shot, but just in case, I have prepared my application:
"Howdy do, Buongiorno and Dominus Vobiscum from Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the world's greatest automobile race and, should the white smoke puff in my favor, the next Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.
"I'd like to state my case for papal office. As you can see from my resume, I am currently a free-lance writer, part-time farmer, and adjunct professor. This means I have plenty of spare time which I would gladly apply to Popeing. Popeitude. Being Pope.
"You can also see that I have been something of a 'free spirit' in my life, owing to a background in music, which I believe will bring a certain New World aesthetic to the leadership of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, to wit:
"A. Papal Wardrobe - Let's get rid of the ermine and jewels and go for something practical. I'm thinking bowling shirts with names over the pockets. Imagine how many hungry people we could feed, clothe, house, and comfort with the money we'd save (and the fortune we'd get selling the old duds on Ebay).
"B. Speaking of Old Duds - It's time we got some younger people in the church hierarchy. By younger, I mean "less than the College of Cardinals' current average age of 72.' A few wild and crazy 68-year-olds could really liven up the joint.
"C. Downsizing - Do we really need our own country on all that valuable Roman real estate? Should a church even have borders? Let's see about shutting down some castles and getting into a few floors of an office building somewhere. Indianapolis is a nice, central location for a North American branch. I can start the search right now if you like.
"D. Keep The Good Stuff - Mass, for instance. Reconciliation. Marriage. All the sacraments, actually. But work on the music. It is Yawnsville. Let's think outside the confessional. I'll go first: Catholic Southern Gospel.
"Now, if I'm elected Pope, I know I'll have to follow certain traditions, such as changing my name. But I would like to break the cycle of all those antique names for something that might let the young folks know this is not their ancient ancestors' church ... so I'm thinking Bob. Pope Bob."
That's about it, I guess. I hope you don't think that by joking around a little I'm being sacrilegious. I'm not. I love the church and I love being Catholic. I just think a new pope, elected not in a time of grief but in one of anticipation, could bring great and positive change to the church and the world, and maybe usher us into an era where the power of churches, all kinds of churches, is in the way they serve their flocks and not the other way around.
Which gets me back to that papal name thing again. I know it's not going to happen anytime soon - in fact, as it stands, I really DO have a better chance of becoming Pope than this - but I think it would be exceptionally cool to someday have a Pope Mary.
© 2013 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.