Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tempus Fugit

It seems like only yesterday since H I published its exclusive coverage of the coronation of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. It has been a busy 8 months. Establishing a new pontificate involves a lot of difficult decisions and tampering with tradition is never easy. Getting the Vatican cafeteria to drop sausage and kielbasa and feature sauerbraten and red cabbage was a big deal. Changing the monograms on about a thousand bath towels from II to XVI was a huge job. What do you do with a bunch of people who made their living translating between Polish and Latin? Then there were the last guy’s magazine subscriptions and credit cards to cancel. (As St Bruce, patron saint of interior decorators said, ‘it’s all in the details’.)

There were also important ceremonial changes that Benedict had to come to grips with. Learning to say ‘Ve haff vays of making you pray’ in 37 languages was not easy. Designing the new Panzergranadier uniforms for the Swiss Guards seemed to take forever. Then there was the balcony bit. The vision of a German standing on a balcony addressing 50,000 people had a few public relations problems. Luckily the Grand Chamberlain was able to sell a compromise to XVI. The weekly appearances on the balcony stay; the crowd does not march by carrying torches.

It’s a miracle that Big Ben had any time at all to deal with theological issues. Thank God, he is the CEO of Miracles-R-Us. He’s managed to find the time to publish several important new doctrines.

Overturning centuries of Catholic teaching, the Church has scrapped ‘limbo’. Originally limbo was seen as a convenient place for all those people who were born in a year ending in BC and for babies who died before they were baptised. Without membership cards, they couldn’t get into heaven. Since they were not guilty based on a technicality, they couldn’t be sent to purgatory or hell. Some bright spark in the Dark Ages had a nifty idea. Why not just have them hang around until the end of the universe and then figure out what to do with them? Unfortunately, limbo now contains a couple of billion souls who are bored rigid. They have no idea how long they will have to wait, there’s nothing to do, and no one gives them any information. Hanging around until the end of the universe is really miserable. In a bold step, the Vatican plans to change the name ‘limbo’ to Heathrow Terminal 6 and sub-contract the operation to British Airports Authority.

H I can also report breaking news on the Christmas controversy. Rumours have surfaced that several American atheists are planning to file a lawsuit demanding that the giant blue spruce being set up in St Peter’s Square should be referred to as a ‘Holiday Tree’. A spokesman for the ACLU says, ‘What happens in the basilica should stay in the basilica! God does not belong in the public square’. In response, after a lengthy study of the issue by the College of Cardinals and the Vatican Office of the Preservation of the Faith, the Pope will issue a new encyclical entitled Excidere amicus, ego dominus - et meum forum est.

As a service to readers whose Latin is limited to counting to III, we are happy to provide an English translation: ‘Get lost buddy, I’m the boss - and it’s my square!’


Blogger Superhappyjen said...

Actually, I can count all the way up to X

2:05 PM  
Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

Gee, who'd have thought being Pope was so difficult and time consuming. If it were me, I'd spend days just gazing at my vast collection of looted art and jewels...

...then I'd dig into that whole UFO thing. After all, being pope should mean access to all the top secret files in God's safe, should it not?

2:38 AM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

I X, but my pronounciation is funny because we used weird latin in my class (way-nee wee-dee wee-key instead of vay-nee vee-dee vee-chee)


8:27 PM  

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