Dear sir or madam (but probably sir),

I have noticed that you have a vacancy in your church and I would like to apply for the job of Pope. I realize not being a Cardinal, or even Catholic, is a drawback, but I believe I have some great suggestions that will more than outweigh those negatives.

Any incoming Pope will face severe challenges: Preaching humility, while living a palace; promoting scholastic reason, while still making magical claims; remaining credible attacking homosexuality, while wearing  a sparkly dress and what looks like Dorothy’s shoes from the Wizard of Oz.

My own Presbyterian denomination has much to teach about hiding injustice behind the robes of sanctity. For example, we have no formal prohibition against female clergy, but our insistence on sexist language for God ensures that woman clergy are, well women clergy. Our language lets the little ladies know they are always on male turf.

The next Pope will have to do something about uppity Catholic women. Those nuns driving around the country are an embarrassment for us male clergy everywhere. They are smarter than we, better informed on social issues, and, unfortunately, living in the real world. The new Pope will need to discredit them even more effectively than did the former Pope. As Pope my first order of business would be to say that women should not be allowed to drive. At first it will sound strange, but after a few centuries it will make as much sense as saying that women can’t sprinkle baptismal waters on a baby’s head or pass out the holy crackers.

To convince American women that 80 year old celibates know more about sex than they do is a tough sale, which is why I will also declare that, in the womb, the soul enters the body through the man’s peepee.  I haven’t found it in the Bible yet, but what other reason could there be for saying that men can handle ordination but women are not?

 My second act will be to take back the church’s apology to Galileo. I realize that will re-saddle us with a geocentric universe, but we cannot admit that the Bible is wrong about astronomy and also say it is infallible about human sexuality. Unfortunately some of the best philosophers and skeptics of all time came from the Catholic Church. We must make sure that such anti-magic forces do not rise up again in the Catholic Church. If minds like William of Ockham emerge again and start testing our truth claims by the scientific method, well you know where that would lead.

To face this grave threat I plan to appoint magician David Blain as my official theologian. I figure if he can make it look like a tiger disappeared he can make our magical claims sound credible. Obviously, the new theology will require new expenditures in pyrotectics, but that will be considerably less expensive than bringing our theology into the real world.

My final challenge will be condemning poverty without playing into those radical Catholics who teach liberation theology. These radicals usurp our noble efforts at charity with an ungodly call to undo the actual sources of poverty. We would very quickly lose our welcome in any country in the world if we ever actually confronted the sources of poverty.

To face this third challenge, I propose more statues of the saints. I realize they lived lives of poverty and most of them would not be welcome in any modern denomination, but remember one important fact. They are dead. They cannot speak, which means we can speak for them. By lifting up their forms we distract the people from their radical messages. I recommend such statues placed next to our most vulgar expressions of wealth like chandeliers, fancy chairs and such. Perhaps a golden statue of a saint St. Francis will be enough to distract the people from his bad example.

These are a few of my ideas. I hope you will consider me for the job of Pope. We can discuss other details like vacation and my Pope name later.  Until then, I am

respectfully yours,

Rev. Jas. Rigby,

(Pope Jimmy I?)