Monday, February 11, 2013

Ben There, Done That   
     Almost as venerated by Americans as the almighty dollar, the Pope of Rome is just another politician to Italians. Thus this morning on NPR the news of the demission of Joey Ratz was treated in a speak-no-ill-of-the-infamous tone.  That was until Sylvia Poggioli, NPR’s longtime Rome correspondent with a typically European secular outlook, came on air to assess Benedict XVI’s reign. She got into the negatives pretty quickly since the positives were so paltry. At that point, Poggioli’s piece was cut short with the obviously agitated anchors excusing that they had to move on to another story.  (That is, one of lesser import since the papal pensioning was the lead item that morning).
    The pontifical Benedicts, a parade stretching back a millenium, were not exactly a heaven-sent bunch.  No. 3 was  rumored to have really been a German girl named Joan whose robes hid her pregnancy. No. 4 presided mostly over chaos, which killed him.  No. 5 was a libertine who had his head cracked opened personally by the Holy Roman Emperor. No. 6 was strangled on orders of Pope Boniface VII. No. 8 was a lay warrior, noted for banning marriage by priests because they were leaving church property to their heirs. No. 9, an antipope, was chased out of Rome by angry mobs and later captured and convicted of corruption. No. 12 was known for harsh interrogations and, more positively, starting the construction of the wonderful papal palace at Avignon. No. 13 was the Bernie Madoff of popes, bringing on the financial collapse of the Vatican.  On the bright side, No. 14 favored literature and the arts. No 15 was a noted peacemaker who made the deal with Mussolini that led to the creation of the modern Vatican state.
    Below is a tribute to the departing No, 16, who, to be fair, was in the Hitler Youth but never joined the party:

   L'ultimo comunicato ufficiale di Joey Ratz dalla Santa Sede: Informiamo tutti i Credenti che stare a letto nudi, in compagnia di qualcuno, e urlare:"Oh mio Dio! Oh mio Dio!" 

(Last official Communication from Joey Ratz of the Holy See: We inform all believers that being in bed naked with someone and shouting: "Oh my God, Oh my God!" is not considered prayer.)
               Grazie a Rosella per l'immagine