How to write nice things about a Pope

Friday, 16 March 2018

How to write nice things about a Pope

This is an instalment in our self-help guide “How to be a good pope”, but is really intended for retired popes rather than ones still poping.It may happen to you that after a few years as the world’s holiest person you will decide to retire, in order to spend more time in prayer, contemplation, beer-drinking, piano-playing, reading the Eccles blog, and other activities suitable to your advanced years.

Pope Benedict reading a newspaper

“That’s three heresies already, and I only opened it for the weather forecast.”

Very good. The chap currently doing all the nitty-gritty pope stuff, such as writing ambiguous exhortations, insulting the ordinary Catholic, and praising Emma Bonino, should be left to tread his infallible path, now that you have decided to be fallible again.

But, horror! One day a pile of junk mail comes through your letter-box. It consists of a set of eleven slim volumes explaining the theology of your successor. What is worse, they want you to write something saying how wonderful it is.

Life is so dreadfully unfair. If the publishers had sent you Fifty more shades of grey, you could have sent it back saying that you only ever wore white; or if it was Building a bridge, you could have passed it on to some engineering friend. But theology is your thing, and you have to respond to the request.

Benedict XVI's letter

“There are many books that I shall never read, but these are the best.”

Now, if all they want is a snappy headline for their publicity, then, whatever you write, they will be able to extract a phrase. Your carefully-chosen words “When people describe Pope Bosco [your successor] as a brilliant theologian, my head begins to overheat” will be boiled down to “A BRILLIANT THEOLOGIAN”, with the rest carefully blurred.

Likewise, “Read these books? I’d rather watch the grass grow” will be edited into “READ THESE BOOKS”. Then again, “I’m 90 years old, and they think I can find nothing better to do” will become “I CAN FIND NOTHING BETTER”.

The moral is clear: write what you like about these books, and leave it to the boys at the Vatican to spin it whichever way they want.

Get AQ Email Updates

5 comments on “How to write nice things about a Pope

  1. Double LOLs for BE and ECS, the latter who shall ever remain, alongside Howl, a Field Marshal for Life over the growing army of trad humorists, among which BE is rapidly rising through the ranks in grand style.
    Well done, gentlemen. Carry on! 😎😀

  2. Apparently, trad irony and comedy are driving sodo-Jebbie Martin to distraction!
    To which observation I reply: Huzzah!

  3. Another bit of recent trad humour:
    Vatican Releases New Image Of Letter From Paul to Corinth
    The Vatican just released a new image of a letter from Paul to some guys in Corinth.
    In unrelated news: VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has admitted that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis’ theological background. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image.

Leave a Reply