A whimsy by Ted Schmidt

Camerlengo(Italian),a Catholic cardinal,  determines the death of the reigning Pope; then takes possession of the Ring of the Fisherman and cuts it with shears in the presence of the Cardinals. He is then involved with the preparations concerning the conclave and the Pope’s funeral.

Yes, you could say chaos resulted when I,Giuseppe Gioia,the Cardinal Camerlengo, a son of the Piedmont,  took charge when Papa Benedetto resigned.

I summoned all 115 of these dour men and read them the riot act.

What transpired was not chaos, it was the wings of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Disturber who had long been absent inside our Church.

Gentlemen, here are the rules for the conclave

1.If you can’t dance like Bishop Tutu, please remove yourselves. Dance is a fundamental requisite for the  See of Rome. The  Holy Fire of evolution has been coursing through the cosmos, flaring up in prophets’ faces especially in Jesus. Dance was our ancestors’ first response. to the divine Mystery. Too many of you have not heard the music. As a matter of fact you are tone deaf. A quick perusal of your music collection has indicated this to me. You have the words but not the music. The monotonous drum beat from Rome has crippled your imaginations and dispirited our people. As Lisa  Isherwood says, “the world is full of Christianity yet nothing changes.It may be time to change the tune”. Immediately 15 stepped back.

2. If  you do not have the following artists in your music library, you have not heard the cry of the cosmos  or the cry of the poor and ,you are not fit to be next pope.

Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Gil Scott-Heron,a box set of STAX CDs, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan.

If these  artists are strangers, please leave

15 more  moved to the rear..

3.If you have not been a missionary priest in the field or a parish priest for at least 15 years, you are inventing the human and have no idea of people’s needs.

17 more joined the outer ring.

4 If you have never had your heart broken in love, either male of female, please go now.

10 more shuffled to the back.

5.If you have never walked a picket line or demonstrated for justice, you have absolutely no idea of who Jesus of Nazareth was and is. Identify yourselves and please step back..

The rest, heads down, joined their brothers at the back of the chapel.

6.Why gentlemen, I asked them, are you all dressed in red? This is the blood the martyrs shed but you have avoided anything resembling a cross or struggle.You have given God’s people thin gruel for the journey—platitudes and abstractions are no substitute for God’s reign of peace and justice. You have offered respectability not risk, a middle class Jesus rather than the radical revolutionary who was murdered for the New World.You have no right to wear the Red. You resemble princes of a medieval court

7.Look around this room, gentlemen. One half the human race is not represented; where are the women and those lay people who represent 99% of our Church? They are outside these doors!  are outside these doors. The  Master’s question rings out, “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? “ (Mk.8:18)

8.My final question: Did you not all swear to never raise the issue of celibacy and female ordination to become bishops? Was there not a higher authority than the bishop of Rome to swear fealty to? Where was Jesus and your conscience when you succumbed to “scarlet fever”?

I am asking you for the good of the Church and the gospel to return to your countries and find the poorest parish you can find and raise up the faces of the poor and neglected.

Vaya con dios, fratelli!

There was not a word in that chapel.It was then that I donned the new vestment, the chasuble  that all priests wear today, pure green, with a gorgeous picture of  our holy mother, the earth in the middle.

And then the people rushed in and proclaimed me pope.

And they insisted on naming me Pope John XXlV.


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