Sherlock Holmes and the Dictator Pope

Friday, 12 January 2018
Not many of my readers will know that my friend Sherlock Holmes was a faithful Catholic: it is true that, having been brought up by Jesuits, he neither attended church nor obeyed Catholic moral teaching, but this should not be held against him.Many will remember his epigram about “The curious incident of the cardinal in the night – the cardinal did nothing in the night, that was the curious incident,” referring to the Archbishop of Westminster’s failure to give any kind of a moral lead on Catholic teaching. As a result of this, and similar cases, Holmes was often consulted on delicate Catholic matters.

Thus, one morning, we were sitting in Baker Street discussing the new Encyclical Humanae Mortis, when our servant Mrs Beattie opened the door to admit a man dressed inconspicuously as a South American general.

General Galtieri

Our illustrious client.

“Mr Holmes, I need your help,” said our client. “A book has been written about, er, a friend of mine, and we need to trace the author in order to, um, pay him homage. The Swiss Guards are already standing by with torture implements.”

“I am at your service, Holy Father,” replied Holmes (to my gasps of “amazing, Holmes, how did you penetrate his disguise?”) “Shall we go to Rome, and make enquiries?”

We took Pope Francis’s private jet to Rome, and the flight passed quickly, since our client remained standing throughout the journey, developing new Catholic doctrines “off the cuff”, which will one day astound and delight the world. That evening, Holmes and I settled into an apartment in the Vatican. Holmes took out his violin as an aid to concentration and played a haunting arrangement of Stephen Walford’s renowned concerto for piano and Balinese nose-flute (with its famous marking “Play whatever the Pope wants”).

After two or three minutes the door opened and an African cardinal strode in. “SILENCE!” he bellowed angrily, and threw a book at my companion’s head, stunning him slightly.

The Power of Silence

“… so many noisy popes…” (paragraph 40)

Once I had bandaged his head, Holmes and I made a tour of the building. We were standing outside Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s apartment when we heard impassioned cries of “No! Yes! YES! YES! YES!

“I see that they are working on an answer to the Dubia,” I remarked to Holmes. He gave me a funny look that I did not understand, and began to analyse the mystery we were trying to solve.

“Watson, my theory is that the book The Dictator Pope was not written by the real Marcantonio Colonna, as he has been dead since 1584. More likely, it was written by a liberal Catholic, tired of trying to defend the Pope’s obvious failings.”

Marcantonio Colonna

“I have an alibi. I am dead.”

“Amazing, Holmes. Could it be Spadaro? Ivereigh (no, it’s too well-written)? Massimo Faggioli? James Martin (no, there’s no obsession with homosexuality)? Rosica?”

“These are deep matters, Watson, and perhaps I am wrong. But the case presents interesting features. For example, why is the book produced only electronically, and not on paper? Did Cardinal Baldisseri steal all the printed copies?”

Putting on his liturgical deer-stalker, Holmes led me into Mass, where Cardinal Paradigm was going to preach about Parolin Shifts in Amoris Laetitia. To me it sounded like complete heresy, but then Homes explained that this sort of nonsense was necessary if a cardinal wished to be considered papabile, and Cardinal Paradigm probably didn’t believe half of what he was saying.

Parolin dressed in white

“We have found the man who stole the Pope’s vestments” announced Holmes.

To be continued?

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4 comments on “Sherlock Holmes and the Dictator Pope

  1. I say Holmes, was that fellow in the red pajamas and slippers, from one of those countries, the Good President Trump was talking about the other day ,exclaimed Watson ? And I guess he did not like your rendition of “ Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” either ! Let’s go down to that Cardinals apartment and see what he has found !

  2. A while later !!! I say Watson, those fellows at the Cuckoo Cocco Cardinal’s Apartment were not to happy to see us. It was a little strange seeing all these young men, wearing nothing but Red Sashes, and carrying packs of white sugar. It must be for their Lattes , since they are working so hard researching the Dubia. Some even had the sugar stuck to their mustaches. Must be newly made Bishops by our Holy Father. I wonder if one of them wrote the ” Forbidden Book, The Dictator “. Nah!!! Lets just say it was Randy Engels . I think I will try another rendition of ” Don’t Cry for me Argentina “! Think anyone will mind ? It is wonderful to be surrounded by such Holy Men living in the Vatican Apartments. I feel so inspired !

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