Pope Benedict XVI is resigning

Well, here’s something that doesn’t happen every century: “Pope Benedict XVI to resign, citing age.”

In a move that took the world by surprise, Pope Benedict XVI announced [today] that he will become the first pope in 600 years to resign, with plans to step down on Feb. 28.

“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” Benedict told cardinals as they gathered in Rome for the proclamation of new saints.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said preparations for the conclave that will elect Benedict’s successor are in the early stages.

A papal election could be expected “within 10 to 15 days” after the resignation, he said. “We should have a new pope by Easter.”

Here’s the text of the pope’s resignation speech.

Let me get this out of the way first: If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.

OK, then.

That “first pope in 600 years to resign” line in all the reporting on this refers back to Gregory XII, during the Western Schism, when there were popes all over the place. That resignation was part of the attempt to get the Vatican back to the Vatican, so it’s not really similar to the voluntary resignation Benedict XVI announced today. The last time a pope left the office this way was more than 700 years ago, when Celestine V stepped down in 1294. (Josh Marshall is trying to sort out the history of all this.)

To put that in perspective, it’s been less than 17 years since the Catholic Church kept slaves. (Yes, in 1996, Bill Clinton was president, Yahoo’s search-engine was two years old, and the Roman Catholic Church had slaves.)

News agencies are hastily editing the reports from their ready-to-go obit files to produce retrospectives on Benedict’s seven-year papacy. Read the Reuters report Internet Monk posted and you’ll note the distinctly obituarial tone of such pieces. (The practice of pre-writing obituaries may seem ghoulish to those outside the news biz, but it’s a prudent, necessary measure.)

CNN’s Belief Blog also dips into that obit file for a helpful sidebar of “Facts About Pope Benedict XVI.”

William Lindsey has a good round-up of initial responses. I like John Dwyer’s suggestion: “Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. for Pope!” And I agree with Chris Hayes, “Call me crazy, but I think the next pope should be someone who didn’t help cover up child rape.”

Andrew Sullivan also has a good collection of responses from Catholic bloggers and writers.

Daniel Horan has a quick look at what Catholic canon law does and doesn’t say about papal resignations. The odd factor being that, “the Pope does not answer to anyone, so there is no ‘technical’ recipient of his resignation. All other bishops resign to him.”

As Andrew Brown observes, “the papacy remains the last absolute monarchy in Europe,” and such regimes are “traditionally renewed by death or disease.”

Brown thinks the current pope’s experience during the waning years of John Paul II’s papacy may have convinced him that the church would be better served by resignation than by a prolonged decline:

During the decrepitude of John Paul II, Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was his right-hand man. It may be that his experience then planted in him a wish to leave office while he was still able to discharge his duties.

Whether or not that experience influenced Benedict’s decision, that is the explanation he provides, writing, “Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

That’s wise. It seems in the best interests of both himself and the institution he oversees. There may be very little precedent for a papal resignation, but perhaps Benedict’s example will set a constructive precedent for his successors. When one is 85 years old and one’s “strength of mind and body” are no longer what the job demands, stepping down is a good thing.

That’s why Wonkette’s headline — “Pope Pulls a Palin” — may be a funny crack (at Sarah Palin), but the difference between his resignation and hers is telling. She was a young, healthy governor half-way through her first term in elected office when she just quit, walking away from the responsibilities that had been entrusted to her. At 85, after a lifetime in the church, Benedict isn’t a quitter. And his willingness to relinquish power seems more responsible to me than if he had taken the route of his predecessor, stubbornly clinging to power with increasingly unsteady hands.

Hemant Mehta suggests that others with lifetime appointments might learn from Benedict’s example and also take this sensible option of not overstaying their faculties:

Note to Justice Antonin Scalia, a man who is 76, fervently Catholic, and also holds a life term: Take the hint. It’s OK to step down.

See also this from Goblinbooks: “‘Don’t Believe HR About Why I Left,’ by Pope Benedict.”

 

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  • http://anoigmatic.wordpress.com/ Simon Nash

    Of course Ellenjay knew this was going to happen – simply take two words from Ex 21:6 “He shall”, one from Eccl 10:4 “resign”, three from Luke 2:37 “aged 84 years”, and two from Lev27:27 “plus one”.

    All very literal and obvious.

    Now who’ll give odds on the next papal name being Nicolae I?

    (Typo edited)

  • Magic_Cracker

    What are the odds on Joan II?

  • Lori

    What are the odds on Joan II?   

    Apparently not worth bothering to calculate.

    http://www.paddypower.com/bet/current-affairs/the-next-pope

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Paddy Power should know. They’re one of the richest Irish companies, and they invested wisely, and didn’t fail at all in the banking crash. That’s because these days, they and the banks are in basically the same business, but Paddy Power know what they’re doing, and the banks, apparently, don’t.

    TRiG.

  • The_L1985

    I’ve learned something from that site.  Namely, that there are WAY too many Italian cardinals. And I say this as someone who is proud of her Italian heritage.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Hasn’t there been a persistent belief that the Pope following Benedict will be the Antichrist? 

    If so, he’s got an awesome theme song. By faithful Catholics, even!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcTaQoaaJ7E

  • http://profiles.google.com/cappadocius Ian Cunningham

    The next Pope’s name is predicted to be Peter – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy_of_the_Popes

  • Wednesday

    The head of one branch of my campus’s food services also announced his resignation today.  In his two-year tenure, he transformed the campus cafe’s menu from Greasy Blah to genuinely varied and tasty (with somewhat healthful offerings), and oversaw the renovation of the cafe and the campus coffee shop.

    During Pope Benedict’s tenure, he condemned humanists for doing good for the sake of helping others, called gays and lesbians an ecological danger to humanity, blamed gays for the church’s history of child abuse (never mind girls were abused too), chided Sisters for spending too much energy helping people instead of hating gays and birth control, and applauded the passage of a no-exceptions abortion ban whose text specifically stated that abortion is never medically necessary to protect the mother’s health or life.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll be missing Drew (the food services guy) more than Pope Benedict.

  • Raymond

    “Call me crazy, but I think the next pope should be someone who didn’t help cover up child rape.”

    Or actively lie about condoms to trick people into not using them in Africa.

  • Darkrose

    Fred, you left out the really sad part of Chris Hayes’ tweet:

    Call me crazy, but I think the next Pope should be someone who didn’t help cover up child rape.Tho,that may disqualify every single cardinal

    He’s probably right.

  • histrogeek

     Probably does, even ones who have been active participants had to keep up the policies of everyone else, that is cover-up and shut-up, or else the extent would be have been known much earlier.
    At this rate, the best we can hope for is someone who will make a serious effort to purge the abusers (just pretend they support birth control), opens the records, and makes appropriately grovelling apologies to every one of the victims.

  • stardreamer42

     That was just what I was going to say. Are there any cardinals who have not been involved in the rape cover-up?

  • LoneWolf343

     I understand that any baptized male in the Catholic Church could be Pope, not just cardinals.

    (Stephan Colbert for Pope!)

  • Lori

     

    Tho,that may disqualify every single cardinal  
     

    This was my first thought. Even the duration and breadth of the cover-up I doubt they have anyone who is eligible to become Pope who wasn’t part of it. Not only will the next Pope virtually certainly be guilty of covering up child rape, unless they pick someone fairly young and start pushing promotions my guess would be the guy after that will be someone who was also in on it.

    I’ve seen at least a couple people who think the next Pope will be Dolan, and he’s certainly not innocent in the cover-up. His strong anti-gay cred is probably more important to the Conclave though.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Let me get this out of the way first: If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.

    But you’d make a good Pope.  You’d need a doctrine adviser (for the record, I recommend Hapax) because you’re not a Catholic and should not impose Baptistness on them, but I bet you could do more to help the Catholic Church out of its scandals than most of those who are likely to get the position because my impression of you is that you would order that all documentation be turned over to the relevant authorities and all church members assist the authorities in any way they can.

    That in itself would do more to set the Catholic Church on the right path than anything related to the difference between a Catholic and Baptist.

    Ok, now to read the rest of the post.

  • Otrame

    He’s been told he is dying and he wants to influence who will be the next Pope. We can be sure that the next Pope help cover up child rapists too.

  • Magic_Cracker

    I hope they elect Monsignor Martinez. He’s about the only priest I can think of who could clean up the Vatican.

    Vaya con dios.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There was a buzz of excitement when JPII (that bastard) finally kicked the bucket, because some people thought the college of cardinals would elect a Pope from Latin America, i.e. someone who has a different and hopefully more progressive viewpoint than some old hidebound fart from Europe.

    Given the track record here I’m not holding my breath.

  • histrogeek

     I’d agree, though the pastoral bishops may finally awake to the problems of picking someone straight out of the Curia. Some of Ratzi’s earlier screw-ups as Pope were a result of being in the bubble too long. His worst screw-up of course was continuing the same policy as JP2 on protecting the cleric caste over everyone else.

  • Carstonio

    How much more conservative has Ratzinger been over Wojtyła? I had the impression that the differences were slight, despite the common impression of Wojtyla being more personable.

    My personal hope is that his successor reins in the US bishops and their interference in health politics here. But since I’m not Catholic, I suspect that my opinion would be unwelcome, even by people who agree with me about the bishops. So any Catholics here are free to tell me to mind my own theological business.

  • Foelhe

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

    Yeah, I’ve got no grounds to judge the pope on theological grounds. I’m not Catholic. But the Catholic church has spent enough time sticking their nose into political issues and that’s something I do care about. If the pope insists on causing political trouble then I insist on caring about his positions.

    That’s rotten luck for the Catholics who want their leaders to be judged by their fellow congregants, not by anyone on the street, but I’m not the one who set up that situation and I’m not going to apologize if I have to criticize it.

  • Carstonio

     

    But the Catholic church has spent enough time sticking their nose into
    political issues and that’s something I do care about. If the pope
    insists on causing political trouble then I insist on caring about his
    positions.

    I agree. I wasn’t talking about the specific positions of whoever holds the office. Just as the bishops are interfering in the US political process, I speculated that Catholics might see me as sticking my nose in the papal selection process, despite the fact that everyone is affected by the outcome.

  • Foelhe

    I know, I just don’t agree. The Catholic church has become a partly political organization. I’m going to have an opinion about what it does in that arena. If someone thinks I’m “sticking my nose in”… well, tough.

    Which sucks for good Catholics who don’t want outsiders deciding their theological policies. I sympathize. But until the pope and cardinals restrict their power to Catholics, Catholics can’t complain when non-Catholics get involved.

  • Carstonio

    We’re not that far apart. Damned right that the Church is political as well as religious, and its policies and theologies are fair game for criticism by anyone. My point is limited to who gets selected as Pope. Given the Church’s power, I have a strong stake like anyone else in who gets selected for the papacy, although I have no idea who the likely candidates are.

    I just felt it necessary to include a caveat, because I anticipated Catholics feeling territorial and resentful, misinterpreting my opinion as a non-Catholic trying to decide their theological destiny.

  • Foelhe

    I agree that we’re not that far apart, but I think I’m not making my point entirely clear. I was specifically responding to this point you made here:

    “But since I’m not Catholic, I suspect that my opinion would be unwelcome, even by people who agree with me about the bishops. So any Catholics here are free to tell me to mind my own theological business.”

    I don’t blame Catholics for being irritated with the situation, but anyone who tells me to mind my own business on this had better expect a shouting match. If you don’t want outsiders to care what you’re doing, take it up with the bishops, not me.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The Catholic church has become a partly political organization.

    The Catholic Church has always been a decidedly political organization from its inception. There was a very short period when it sort of tried not to be. That was so far from the Catholic Church’s norm, it’s almost shocking in retrospect.

    At least they don’t invade other countries any longer.

  • Foelhe

    Yeah, I guess “has become” was sort of a silly thing to say not five threads after we were discussing the inquisitions.

  • Darkrose

    But since I’m not Catholic, I suspect that my opinion would be unwelcome, even by people who agree with me about the bishops. So any Catholics here are free to tell me to mind my own theological business.

    Until the USCCB decides to mind their own fucking business–which mostly seems to involve obsessing over other people’s fucking–I’m certainly not going to refrain from expressing my opinion on them except for the sake of not posting long, profanity-laced screeds on Fred’s blog.

  • Tricksterson

    Ratzinger was in John Paul II’s inner circle so take it from there.

  • syfr

    I think you should mind your own business when they mind theirs.

  • Carstonio

    Are you talking about Catholics in general or the bishops? Either way, I mind my own business because respecting individuals’ privacy is the right thing to do.

  • syfr

    I meant that you should mind your own business when the bishops stop meddling in U.S. politics.

    I am an ex-Catholic, and since their meddling in politics affects your life, I think it’s okay for you to have an opinion on them/the pope/ etc.

  • Carstonio

    That’s an opinion we share. My point was that some Catholics might not see the distinction between voicing an opinion on who should be Pope and, say, walking into a church on Sunday and ridiculing the Eucharist. For some it’s probably a personal issue. That wouldn’t stop me from having the opinion, but it would lead me to think about tactics in voicing that opinion around Catholics. They might have a point if the Church’s governance was democratic.

  • Darkrose

    I wouldn’t be too sure that a Pope from the developing world would be more progressive. The loudest voices to push the Episcopal Churches of the US and Canada out of the Anglican Communion have mostly come from the so-called “Southern Cone” region, including that horrible homophobic and sexist Nigerian bishop whose name I can’t remember and don’t want to look up because he’s such a tool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    I think you mean the Global South; the Southern Cone refers specifically to the temperate regions of South America, south of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia: Argentina, Chile, and the ‘guays.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Fine, I nominate the Irish guy (Bishop?  Archbishop?  Don’t remember) who decided that cooperation rather than cover up was the best response to the sex abuse and ordered that cooperation be carried out as soon as he got his post.  Anyone know who I’m talking about?  Are there any things he’s done to make us tend toward the conclusion that he is evil in some other way?

    If not, either he or the leader of the nuns on the bus* is my vote.

    *She sent me an email, not a form letter with her name attached, an actual email she appeared to have written herself, in response to me sending one off to her saying, more or less, that I thought the work she was doing was important. This has no bearing on anything, but I felt like sharing it.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    chris is thinking of Archbishiop Diarmuid Martin. I don’t know much about him, but what I do know suggests he’s a reasonably good egg.

    TRiG.

  • schismtracer

    Chris Hayes: “Call me crazy, but I think the next pope should be someone who didn’t help cover up child rape.”

    The RCC is too big on tradition to abandon one that well-entrenched.  They might as well cancel mass.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    All the snark, all the remarks, and yet I’ find myself unaccountably saddened at Pope Benedict’s stepping down. There was something in the man that inspired me, can’t say what.
    He’s probably doing the best thing, leaving while still in relative health, and yet I weep. 
    (and yes I am aware of all the scandals, problems).
    He’s beautiful.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     If you could say what it was that inspired you, I would be interested in knowing.
    Regardless, I hope you find inspiration elsewhere in his absence.

  • Otrame

    Ann, 

    He. is. not. beautiful.  I am not talking about his looks.  He has a sense of morality so twisted that it causes nothing but harm. He has perpetuated the cover-up of thousands of cases of child abuse, and in doing so has severely damaged his own church.  He is not beautiful. 

    He will control who gets the papacy next which means that the next Pope will be the same. The Vatican will continue to lie about condoms to Africans, try to blame LGBT people for all the ills of the world and claim that secularism is the root of all evil while continuing to cover up the institutional protection of rapists, meanwhile using “accounting” so dodgy that the Vatican bank is on the verge of getting blacklisted in banking circles. He sits on his throne of gold while children starve.  He is not fucking beautiful.

  • picklefactory

    “Snark” is not what I feel when I think about the Pope. I think “rage” would be more on the mark.

  • Darkrose

    I’m honestly curious; could you expand? 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    There was something in the man that inspired me, can’t say what.

    Let’s see… his hatred of non-straight people? His hatred of women? His hatred of rape victims? His culpability in the spread of AIDS in Africa?

    He’s hideous, and anyone who cannot see it frightens me.

  • Jared Bascomb

    He’s beautiful.
    If your definition of “beautiful” is an ex-Nazi, homophobic, child molestation covering fuck, then we’ve got a problem with the definition of “beauty”.

    Don’t RIP, Pope Rat.

  • vsm

    Calling him an ex-Nazi is unfair. He was never a member of the NSDAP and while he did belong to Hitler Jugend, so did 90% of Aryan teenage boys, on account of it being mandatory. He was also forced to become a child soldier and lost a mentally disabled cousin to the the eugenics program.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    No, Ann, he is not “beautiful.”  Vile, yes; demonic, arguably; but definitely not “beautiful.”  We are talking about the man who, in his capacity as head of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Holy Office of Inquisition), commanded the church’s bishops in 2001 not to report information about priests who raped children to the secular authorities, on pain of excommunication.  For that crime, this inhuman monster should have spent the remainder of his life in the most miserable dungeon cell on Earth.  Instead, his fellow obstructors of justice and enablers of rape and torture elected him to sit over them on a golden throne and seek to enforce the dictates of their sick, twisted belief system on the rest of the world.

  • Ursula L

    This seems to me to be possibly a move to try and maintain control.  If BXVI were to live out his term, then he has no control over who takes over after him.  But this way, he has the chance to choose his moment, to plan and politic and make deals to ensure that his successor is someone he approves of. 

    In any organization, the timing of the resignation of top management is often carefully orchestrated to create a desired outcome.Listening to NPR an  hour or so ago, they were interviewing a cardinal who said that he’d known for a while that this was coming.  This isn’t about radical change, it is about engineering the succession to avoid unwanted change.  

  • http://twitter.com/richterscale Charles Richter

    The USA Today’s pre-written “who’s going to be the next pope” hit the web with one “the late pope” reference still extant.  It has since been corrected, but whoops!

  • aunursa

    Commemorating the Pope’s tenure is a task that is gladly accepted by the Jewish community. For no matter how silly the idea of having a single religious leader might be to us, in the spirit of interfaith relations we must be gracious and considerate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.herrington.1 Boze Herrington

    He will be missed.

  • Donalbain

    “He will be missed.”

    Sadly this is true. There are always people who mourn the passing of evil.

  • Lori

     

    He will be missed.   

    Yes, he definitely will.

    The measure of the man is exactly who will miss him and who will not.

  • Jared Bascomb

    Pope Rat? Not by me.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’m only sorry I can’t cheer for his death in office like I did when JPII croaked.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Think positive! He hasn’t resigned yet–he might die before he does!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    That has been on my mind, that he drops dead still in harness. 
    Would that be a dark kindness, to have the catharsis of a papal funeral after all? 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Y… Y’know he’s still going to die someday, right? And how often do you get to cheer for the death of a Pope Emeritus? Like once every six hundred years, that’s how often.

  • EllieMurasaki

    More than that. Whatsis in 1415 didn’t voluntarily resign, I hear–it was part of the shenanigans enacted to get the papacy back to one person in Rome rather than multiple people in multiple places.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    He’s beautiful.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I am a baptized Catholic male, as legally eligible to be Pope as any cardinal, support my candidacy;  and I promise to bring Discordianism on a trillion dollar budget to the world. 

    Priestal wardrobe, which is already both as absurd and legitimately fly as can possibly be, shall remain exactly as is. 

  • Foelhe

    You need to do something about the papal hat, though. Not nearly enough moving parts.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    The bishops mitre (ahem) needs no improvements except maybe a smoke machine, and a little speaker blasting Kraftwerk wherever he goes. 

  • reynard61

    “The bishops mitre (ahem) needs no improvements except maybe a smoke machine, and a little speaker blasting Kraftwerk wherever he goes.”

    Gilgamesh Wulfenbach could probably do you one better. (Though I don’t think that his can blast Kraftwerk…yet…)

  • Aiwhelan

    I think you’ll find its correct name is the papal tiara. (i night be wring on that. There IS a papal tiara, I just don’t know which of the many hats it refers to. Possibly the one with three crowns on it.)

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

     Does not Discordianism say that you are *already* the Pope (of the PoEE, if not the RCC).

  • Foreigner

    Damned if I know what a pope’s for. Even as an atheist, I can see (have seen) the value a good pastor/miniister/rabbi can give to their flock and their community, and the often excellent work they do, but I’m shot if I know what good a bishop is to anybody, let alone a World Uberbishop. Let the position fall vacant, would be my vote, if I had one, which I don’t, not being any kind of cardinal.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    I’d only support a candidate for the position who promised to dissolve the church and return its billions to the poor it’s supposedly tasked to lift out of poverty.

    Sadly, I don’t wear a funny hat or cover for pedophiles, so I don’t get a vote.

  • http://vicwelle.wordpress.com victoria

    Yesterday I watched the documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” and I’m pondering a few things discussed in the film as I take in the news about the Pope’s resignation.  One, that the sexual abuse crisis is only going to increase as priests abusing kids in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia are reported, and two, that Benedict is under more and more scrutiny for his handling of the abuse while he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  I find myself wondering if, in addition to his failing health, he sees the growing storm and wants to fade from the spotlight and not further damage the credibility of the papacy.

  • markedward

    You know, a friend and I were just talking last night. He said that, since the whole Mayan calendar doomsday cult is done and over with, the next thing on the list is the Prophecy of the Popes. Lo and behold, the next morning the current pope announces his resignation.

    Petrus Romanus cometh.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’m not Catholic, but I’ll gladly make the sacrifice of wearing that hat if they just put me in charge for an afternoon. I’ll show them infallible.

  • Madhabmatics

    I don’t think any of us here can actually stick our noses in this unless we are secret bishops under assumed names or something, idk if “has an opinion and talks about it in the comments section of a blog” counts as sticking our noses in or deciding anything

  • John (not McCain)

    Good riddance to worthless trash.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    <“Call me crazy, but I think the next pope should be someone who didn’t help cover up child rape.”

    Or the rape of teenage girls and adult women.

  • Socialmedic

    Or the lifetime of rape due to forcing women to be economically dependent on men disguised as the institution of marriage?

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Resigning is more honest, but I sort of wish he kept up the pretense and hired Ian McDiarmid to do his appearances. You have to admit the resemblance is astonishing. 

  • Veylon

    If they were really worried about the Petrus Romanus thing, couldn’t they just seal Benedict in carbonite and declare him the Eternal Pope? Problem solved.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    A new pope straight up naming himself ‘Peter II’ or anything like that is unlikely.  There’s an understanding against it, it wouldn’t be proper for the infallible Vicar of Christ to be so immodest as that. 

  • Madhabmatics

     I want the next pope to take the name “Urban” so that republican rants become really hilarious during his reign

    “These Urban youths…”

  • http://harmfulguy.livejournal.com/ harmfulguy

     Personally, I’m hoping for Pope Corky IX.

  • Carstonio

    Heh. I’m a Carlin fan and I hadn’t heard that joke.

    I was surprised to learn that regnal names in the UK aren’t necessarily the given names, including two from the 20th century. But apparently with Popes it’s a requirement. I wonder if Ratzinger knew the meaning of Benedict in the US.

    The concept of the antipope sounds like Revelation meets Revenge of the Sith. The Coptic Orthodox Church once had a pope named Damian.

  • reynard61

    From the book preview: “On the other hand, you’ll know that America has relaxed it’s hopelessly tight asshole if we someday elect a president named Booger. If we ever get a President named Booger, Skeeter, T-Bone or Downtown President Brown, you’ll know that finally this country is a relaxed, comfortable place to live.”

    Does President Barack Hussein Obama count? (Though it must be admitted that more than a few assholes tightened to black-hole-creating proportions when he got elected — twice!)

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    Is there an understanding about a pope picking a new name altogether, one that hasn’t been done before? Obviously popes must have done so in times past, or we’d have Pope Linus CCLXV, working on CCLXVI by now.

  • aunursa

    Is there an understanding about a pope picking a new name altogether, one that hasn’t been done before? Obviously popes must have done so in times past, or we’d have Pope Linus CCLXV, working on CCLXVI by now.

    You mean like Pope John Paul I, who took his name from his immediate predecessors?

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    No, I meant a completely new name, like Pope Gerald I or something.

  • aunursa

    I don’t know.  Interestingly changing one’s name upon becoming pope is a tradition, but not a requirement.  The first time a pope changed his name was in 533, and the last time a pope did not change his name was in 1555.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

     Philip would be a good name for a Pope, wouldn’t it?

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    Philip would be a good name for a Pope, wouldn’t it?

    I’m thinking they’re not ready for a Pope Martin just yet.

  • EllieMurasaki

    After M. Luther or after M. Luther King Jr?

    (joan joan joan joan)

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Well, there is pressure to maintain a “the king is dead, long live….” sense of continuity, the same impulse that led late-era French kings to name their first two or three sons Louis just to make sure.  But of course a new Pope could probably name himself after some saint or bible hero that hasn’t been used yet without raising eyebrows. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Yugoslavs invented their own version of that for a while.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SO87BvCzzg

    “After Tito – Tito!”

  • AnonymousSam

    In related news…

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/07/catholic-bishops-not-satisfied-with-obamas-contraception-compromise/

    Ugh. Why don’t they just come out and say it: they want to control women. Pure and simple.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I would like to nominate our Deird as the next pope, btw. Since I’m an atheist-former-Lutheran that means less than nothing, but I wanna do it anyway.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     Flattered as I am, I don’t like the Vatican’s decor at all – and my Latin isn’t anywhere near good enough. :)

  • MikeJ

      and my Latin isn’t anywhere near good enough

    When I took Latin the first they they taught you was “the farmer’s daughter is pretty.” An entire language devoted to travelling salesman jokes!

  • Jessica_R

    Yeah, I can’t work up any interest in this because it really should be “The Pope is resigning…as he was convicted on umpteen counts of covering up child sexual assault and now is going to jail for a good long while.” It’s what he deserves, the gilt and fine linen replaced by a polyester jumpsuit. And instead of a library of first editions listening for the squeaky wheel of the book cart for a trustee to hand him a battered Dean Koontz paperback through the bars. Fie on him. 

  • P J Evans

     Better yet, a battered Danielle Steele paperback.

  • reynard61

    “And instead of a library of first editions listening for the squeaky wheel of the book cart for a trustee to hand him a battered Dean Koontz paperback through the bars. Fie on him.”

    Better yet, how about Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique or pretty much anything by Gloria Steinem…or would that constitute cruel and unusual punishment?

  • Jessica_R

    Or even better, a battered copy of Dorothy Day’s writings. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    No, no, no.  Come on, this is Slacktivist!  Clearly, what Ratzi should be handed through the bars of his cell is a copy of Left Behind.

  • Foelhe

    I don’t support cruel and unusual punishment, sir.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    What about cruel or unusual?  Cruel I’ll concede, but one can hardly call one among several million copies of the least deserving New York Times bestseller in the history of the list unusual.

  • aunursa

    Note to Justice Antonin Scalia, a man who is 76, fervently Catholic, and also holds a life term: Take the hint. It’s OK to step down.

    I suspect that many past and present Supreme Court justices, including Scalia, want to retire at a time when the replacement will be nominated by a president from his or her political party.  It doesn’t always work out that way, due to health considerations.  I expect that Justice Ginsburg (who has her own health considerations) plans to retire sometime during the next three years to ensure that a Democratic president will appoint her successor.

    I am reminded of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who probably wanted to retire during the 1980’s, but held out in vain for the election of a Democratic president, until his declining health forced the issue in 1991.  One of his great disappointments was that a Republican would appoint his replacement, whose presence would undoubtably shift the Court to the right.  Ironically, Marshall died four days after President Clinton’s inauguration.

  • Freak

    The Journal of Recreational Mathematics studied that 20 years ago; they didn’t find a significant correlation with the presidency, but they did find a correlation with the Senate majority.

  • aunursa

    Retirement and Death in Office of U.S. Supreme Court Justices
    Stolzenberg and Lindgren, 2010

    “[T]he odds that a justice will retire … in the first two years of the term of a president of the same political party as the president who first appointed him to the Court are about 2.6 times the odds of retiring under a president of the opposing party in the last two years of his presidential term… The odds of death in office odds are about three times higher when the incumbent president is not of the same party as the president who appointed the justice (compared with when the incumbent president is of the same party).”

    Alas, this study doesn’t appear to account for those justices who acted contrary to the philosophy of the president who appointed them.  E.g. Byron White, conservative, appointed by Kennedy; David Souter, liberal, appointed by Bush)

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    Twenty years ago the effect might have been less pronounced than it is now.

  • Victor Savard

    Some of your fans are really disappointed in you Fred for admitting that you have no interest in becoming a “Pope”.  I ask ya! Who’s going to defend some of your faithful from stuff like this,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7bM3RvZ7Xw and who’s going to protect U>S (usual sinners) from the likes of these  http://secretinformationclub.com/pope-benedict-on-homosexual-marriage  harnessed so called gods who want to turn some things into a holy spiritual war, NOW?

    Go Figure! :)

    Peace

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GUFZNDXKK6JQGEIGV7VGXFUDKE c2t2

    I’d un-renounce Catholicism, pretend to believe in god, and get a sex change if it meant I could be the next pope. Not because of any religious reason, but because my first act as Pope would be to put the entire Vatican library online, and open all the vaults to historians and archaeologists.

    On an unrelated note, inspired by a comment at shakesville:

    Sorry, Benedict. You’ll be forced to carry your papacy to term, even though it’s destroying your health. You took on the responsibility, and now you have to live with the consequences.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I was on break at work when I heard the news (via Twitter on my phone). My thought processes went something like.

    #pope? What’s he said now?
    New Pope? Wait has he died? *clicks link*
    The Pope’s done what now?!
    Wow!

  • AnonCollie

    As one of the regular Catholics around here, albeit one who as frustrated with the upper echelons of my faith as any, I’m kind of nonplussed to hopeful about all of this.

    John Paul II was a diplomat, and at least cared about the people he served, or at least it always seemed that way to me. Benedict has not been nearly what his predecessor was; not even close.

    I have hopes that my church will finally adopt a leader who can be at the very least reasonably “moderate,” because I’m well aware the liberal minority among the Cardinals has no chance of coming close.

    But I’m also fearful that the super-conservative segment along the lines of disgraced Cardinal Law or the cheese grater-diplomacy Cardinal Burke could take the top slot. And if that happens…

    If that happens I may just walk for good. And that’s not easy for anyone who’s been cradle catholic, as I’m sure others can attest. It’s not just religious familiarity or nostalgia that keeps it around; it’s a cultural, sometimes tribalistic bind that keeps us around.

    Because we know the Church can be better. Should be better. And despite the men in funny hats; we’ll keep hoping for that better Church to come along. But morale for a faith that seems to be more and more bed with politics instead of justice is straining out with a slow drip, drip, drip.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     We need another John XXIII who’ll be elected as a compromise and then completely blindside them. Vatican III, anyone?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    John Paul II was a diplomat,

    yes, he knew how to say he thought gay people should FOAD without actually saying it.

    So diplomatic.

  • AnonCollie

     I never said I liked all his opinions, Neutrino. Especially since my own orientation has long been in question.

    But before the sex scandal, he did more to heal old wounds between Catholicism and other faiths. That’s what I’m referring to.

  • Hth

    I’ll sort of miss ol’ Maledictus.  The next guy will probably be just as douchey, and less amusing on account of not being *clearly a zombie.*

  • LouisDoench

    My friend Karl said it best…
    ‎”Benedict said in a statement today that he was retiring to spend more time searching for his Precious, which was stolen from him by the nasty Baggins.”

  • Lorehead

    If the Cardinals are serious about wanting to restore the reputation of the Catholic Church, the single best thing they could do would be to turn power over to the nuns.  If they believe that God ordered women to be kept from power for mysterious reasons, who’s to say that that wasn’t so there would be a group of faithful, committed people, untainted by the corruption, to take over in this hour?

    Needless to say, they won’t.  But they should.

  • Madhabmatics

    has anyone considered bringing back an Avignon papacy

  • Lee B.

    For me, the worst part of all of this is I have to listen to my (ex-Catholic) father’s  comments on the situation, which run the gamut from inane to incoherent.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    The saddest thing about this is that the Pope didn’t resign on March 26, which would have coincided with the DVD release of season 2 of The Borgias.

  • Monty Loftus

    To me, the most pressing issue of this event is: does he get to keep his papal gear? Like the red slippers. Those are tailor made for his feet. Does he get to keep them and wear them whenever? Does he have to leave them for the new pope with a receipt so he can trade them back to the cobbler for store credit?

  • Vermic

    To me, the most pressing issue of this event is: does he get to keep his papal gear?

    Also, does he still get Swiss Guard protection?

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    As an atheist, I’m voting Fred for pope anyway.   My second choice is Kirby (>^_^)> <- that guy would never cover up child abuse.  In fact he'd probably eat the perpetrators.

    … what'dya mean I can't vote in a papal election?  What kinda democracy is this!?

  • SisterCoyote

    I have to admit, my first reaction to this was “–Wait. He resigned? They can do that? Did France elect their own again?” followed by a text to my sister, who took AP European History two years after I did, with the same awesome teacher, and enjoyed it as thoroughly: “Suddenly all our weird inside jokes about the Great Schism are RELEVANT! MUAHAHAHAHA”

    (She followed by demanding that I stake my claim. One of our many
    ridiculously twisty conversations on the subject had me declaring myself
    Potato Chip Pope, of the Potato Chip Vatican, and continued with things
    like a holy war on Rutabagas, a demand that all fry-grease by
    consecrated, etc. We’re terrible people.)

    Obviously, I’m not Catholic, but I liked John Paul II rather better. Maybe he did some bad things, but I don’t remember twitching with rage at every news story I read about him, or feeling so much sorrow for his congregation’s faithful LGBTQ folk on a regular basis.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    This amuses me greatly, largely because I used to do the same thing (I was the Marshmallow Pope myself >.>) and… well… seeing someone else with a similar joke makes me rofl

    Clearly not the only food-based pontiff around; and that’s awesome <_<

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    but I don’t remember twitching with rage at every news story I read about him,

    I did.

    The man’s behavior wrt QUILTBAG people was inexcusable and offensive and I had to watch that jackass use his special soap box to tell millions of people around the world that because he wore a dildo on his head that he knew exactly what he was talking about and so they should believe the same way as he did on the matter.

  • SisterCoyote

     …aha. My apologies, then. I should’ve paid more attention back then.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     JP2 was…. He was a terrible person in a somewhat narrower range of ways. And he had several good qualities to contrast with his failings. He also gets an unearned advantage in that being rabidly anti-gay was not especially remarkable for most of his tenure as Pope, making him seem like less of a jerk than his successor without actually doing anything better. Among popes in my lifetime, he is pretty firmly the least terrible. But then, Benedict is a solid #2 on that list.

  • SisterCoyote

     Makes sense. Sort of more of a baseline-mainstream-acceptable-Papal-doctrines terrible, rather than going out of his way often, as it seemed Benedict did.

    (I’m realizing that for most of John Paul II’s  tenure, I had my head firmly planted in the sand, with regards to politics, mostly, and religion entirely. It’s unsettling.)

  • The_L1985

    So did I.  I was 18 when he died, yet I knew next to nothing about what was going on in the world–and was perversely proud of that, because “everybody knows that politicians all tell lies.”

  • SisterCoyote

     Man, is there anyone alive who doesn’t want to go back and punch their teenage selves?

    (Relatedly, my little sister, who’s eighteen, just called me this morning. “Are you at work? Okay, good. I need to talk to you. I am SO ANGRY. I just watched this documentary about corruption in Fox News – why are they so EVIL? I’m so angry! Why? Why is this happening, who actually DOES that? AAAARGH!”

    She’s an ally everywhere it counts, but has, up until apparently today, been pretty much resolutely ignoring most politics, including voting, because she was firmly planted in the “They’re all corrupt, so who cares? Now leave me alone, I’m drawing dragons,” camp. I’m gladder than I can say that she seems to be waking up from that phase.)

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    Eugh, punch is too mild for the jackass I was as a teenager.   I grant there were some reasons beyond my control I wound up that way at the time, but omfg there’s so much I wish I could UN-SAY from that period.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    I take it you were born after John XXIII died, then.

  • The_L1985

    Given that he died 50 years ago, I’m sure a lot of us were.

  • Jared Bascomb

    WRT to JP2’s homophobia vis-a-vis Pope Rat’s, could JP2’s homophobia be attributed in any part to then-Cardinal Rat’s influence as head of the Doctrine of the Faith (or whatever it’s called)? I recall most of us LGBT people rolling our eyes whenever JP2 said something homophobic but saved most of our anger for Cardinal Rat, the author of so much anti-gay hatred.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What incensed me about JPII’s homophobia is he God damn well knew better. Did he or did he not live under the Nazis, who made no bones about what they did with “queers”, and then later the Communists, who insisted that homosexuality was anathema to the Great Socialist Worker’s Paradise? (admittedly, Eastern European nations generally started legalizing same-sex activities in the 1960s and 1970s…)

  • P J Evans

    There are a lot of politicians in the US who know it isn’t true – some of them are still in their closets *cough* Graham *cough* – but they make speeches that are explicitly homophobic.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Obviously, I’m not Catholic, but I liked John Paul II rather better. Maybe he did some bad things, but I don’t remember twitching with rage at every news story I read about him, or feeling so much sorrow for his congregation’s faithful LGBTQ folk on a regular basis.

    I would twitch about him inserting himself into my reproductive system whenever I saw him. But I just plain didn’t know about all the rest of it. Now there is the internet. Now we know, and because of that, I don’t see what the Vatican can do that they will do to rehabilitate their image. They’ll have to actually rehabilitate themselves, which is going to require doing an about-face on pretty much everything they’ve been shoving down the world’s throat for so long. Stop encouraging rape within their organization; stop pretending women are lesser than men; stop pretending straight people are better than non-straight people; stop opposing contraception; stop getting in bed with right-wing Protestants in the U.S. 

    I have higher hopes for another schism than for actual Vatican reform.

  • AnonaMiss

    The optimist in me wants to believe that Benedict’s reference to new technology and deep questions was an indication that he is stepping down because of a crisis of faith brought on by his engagement, in the past few months, with the Internet.

    I’m 99.5% sure it didn’t happen that way, but it’s what I’d like to believe.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    No, I tell ya, it was reading Left Behind.

  • Launcifer

    It occurs to me that Jed Bartlett’s Catholic…. I can live in hope, right?

  • reynard61

    “It occurs to me that Jed Bartlett’s Catholic…. I can live in hope, right?”

    As long as the Pope in the West Wing-iverse has also resigned I don’t see why not.

  • Jared Bascomb

    My ex-boss – very conservative and very Catholic (but supported same-sex marriage) – shocked me when heard that Cardinal Rat had been made pope. He preferred the Italian popes to the Polish one (and now the German one), because the Italians were . . . Italian. They were raised in culture that knows and enjoys indulgence, and indulges in enjoyment of life. They knew *people*, and how people behave. In his opinion (and mine), Pope John Paul II and Pope Rat couldn’t understand that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Herrera/100000106872183 Matt Herrera

    Funny, I always thought that he would keep going until Darth Vader threw him into a bottomless pit.  Or is that part of his retirement package?

    But in all seriousness, I wish that I could be hopeful about this, or that I would be able to overlook Benedict’s legacy on sex abuse, contraception and marriage equality and focus on his legacy on climate change and health care.

    But, as an Agnostic and lapsed Catholic, I can’t help but feel that nothing is going to change.  The cardinals will choose another old white man, probably from Europe, who will continue to rail against contraception and homosexuality while turning a blind eye to sex abuse.  And the Bishops will continue to fight to make sure that they can deny women health care.  And the local priests will continue to give sermons that make it very clear that people like me are not welcome.  And in Confirmation classes, high school kids will continue to be told that they are free to choose their own faith–but if they choose anything other than Catholocism, then they are committing the sin of heresy and will go to Hell.

    And some of those kids will go the rest of their lives losing their faith over these things and be afraid to say anything for fear of being shunned by the rest of their Catholic family.

    Not that I’m bitter or anything.

  • Leum

    And in Confirmation classes, high school kids will continue to be told
    that they are free to choose their own faith–but if they choose
    anything other than Catholocism, then they are committing the sin of
    heresy and will go to Hell.

    That hasn’t been Church doctrine since 1965, when Pope Paul VI promulgated the Nostra Aetate which declared (admittedly implicitly rather than explicitly) that salvation could be found not only outside of Catholicism, but outside of Christianity.

  • fraser

     Someone once pointed out that Catholics who insist there’s no salvation outside the Church are therefore outside the church themselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Herrera/100000106872183 Matt Herrera

    ” That hasn’t been Church doctrine since 1965, when Pope Paul VI promulgated the Nostra Aetate
    which declared (admittedly implicitly rather than explicitly) that
    salvation could be found not only outside of Catholicism, but outside of
    Christianity.”

    Well, apparently the priest who was guest teaching that class never got the memo, because those were his exact words.  “You can choose any faith that you want, but if you chose anything outside the Catholic Church, you are committing the sin of Heresy.”  I’ll never forget, because that was the moment when I looked around the room and asked myself “What the hell am I doing here?”  I’d never been particularly religious (my first confession was also my only confession), but that was what finally convinced me that I couldn’t be both an open-minded person and a Catholic.

    I still got confirmed a few weeks later, but only because that was what was expected of me.  It’s not like you can just tell your 70-odd year old Grandmother (who has been blessed by the Pope and is on a first-name basis with the Bishop of Jerusalem, btw) that you think the Church that she’d dedicated her entire adult life to was a crock.

    But once I went away to college, I immediately stopped going to mass.  Soon after, even the existence of God came into question.  I mean, if I basically have to either abandon or ignore everything I held dear in order to be a member of the One True Church, and if good people I knew who happened to be Jewish or Hindu or Buddhist were going to hell…what kind of God would do that?  Certainly not one I would want to follow.

    None of which is to say that my parents are fundamentalist Catholics.  Hell, they’re pretty much the standard definition of Liberal Catholics.  But they’re not the only members of the family, and they’re also the outliers.

    Nowadays I only go to mass on Easter and Christmas, and even then only because the whole family goes.  I don’t take communion.  And it seems that every other time I do go to mass, the sermon will be about something that makes me want to very publicly walk out.  But I can’t, because my Goddaughter is there, and the sermons that have made me want to walk out the most are also the ones where I don’t think I’d be able to walk out without shouting something at the priest on the way out.  I’m glad I only went to a few services during the lead up to Prop 8…

  • Amaryllis

    Well, apparently the priest who was guest teaching that class never got the memo, because those were his exact words.  “You can choose any faith that you want, but if you chose anything outside the Catholic Church, you are committing the sin of Heresy.”

    Well, technically, you are. Which is to say that if  you, as
    an educated Catholic
    , choose something else, you are guilty of heresy.
    It says nothing about whether the vast numbers of humans who ever
    lived,  or ever will live, are burning in hell for being Not Catholic.
    According to official doctrine, not the case.

    Nor does it mean that heresy can’t be forgiven, or that “heretics” can’t find their own path to God. Judging by the way that Jesus dealt with the heretics and outsiders of his own day.

    Nowadays I only go to mass on Easter and Christmas, and even then only
    because the whole family goes.  I don’t take communion.  And it seems
    that every other time I do go to mass, the sermon will be about
    something that makes me want to very publicly walk out.

    * rueful nod *

    * although I miss the liturgy sometimes *

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Herrera/100000106872183 Matt Herrera

     “Well, technically, you are. Which is to say that if  you, as
    an educated Catholic, choose something else, you are guilty of heresy. It says nothing about whether the vast numbers of humans who ever lived,  or ever will live, are burning in hell for being Not Catholic. According to official doctrine, not the case.

    Nor does it mean that heresy can’t be forgiven, or that “heretics”
    can’t find their own path to God. Judging by the way that Jesus dealt
    with the heretics and outsiders of his own day.”

    The priest didn’t make any of those distinctions.  The message that I got was that everyone who was Not Catholic was a heretic.  I also liked how he framed it like I had some sort of, I don’t know, constitutionally guaranteed right to worship as I chose–but only if I chose Catholicism. 

    “That’s a nice immortal soul you’ve got there; it’d be a shame if something happened to it.”

    Yeah, nothing manipulative or coercive about that.

  • The_L1985

     But it’s strongly implied.

    There’s also the issue that a lot of 6th-8th graders can’t think logically yet, and some (including myself) were so sheltered at the time of Confirmation that the only other option they seemed to have WRT religion was a nasty form of fundamentalist Protestantism.  I remember feeling that there was something wrong about the form of Protestantism to which I’d been exposed (but I couldn’t yet put my finger on it), and being fairly certain that I wasn’t an atheist–which, to the sheltered kid I was at the time, meant I pretty much had to be Catholic.

    I had literally never knowingly encountered a non-Christian in my life, and didn’t realize that members of non-Christian religions actually existed in the United States.  I honestly believed that “those people” only lived in other countries, partly due to the fact that I only really learned about Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism in the context of world history courses.  Otherwise, I might have made a very different decision–I was rather taken with Indian culture at the time, and had already read through the entire Ramayana at the age of 11.

    (But then, I can imagine how my father would have reacted to “Dad, I think I want to be a Hindu instead.”  That would have gone over badly.)

  • Jessica_R

    I don’t want an American Pope for the simple reason that people who take Left Behind seriously really, really, really shouldn’t receive any encouragement in their paranoia. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    But then the Pope wouldn’t be born in Romania, so he can’t be the Antichrist, right? :P

    (Oh, who am I kidding? LaHaye and his fellow travellers would somehow contort their doctrinal intrepretations to “prove” it anyway.)


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