Just a few more pope facts before I wrap this exciting week up.
First off, while doing my Internet research on the pope (Wikipedia is so helpful—and accurate!) I found out that our current pope, the former Joseph Ratzinger (former nickname: Joey “Rats”—adorable!) was a member of Hitler’s Yahtzee Youth Group when he was a young boy growing up in Germany in the 1930s. Imagine that!
Say what you want about Hitler, but I would never have expected him to sponsor such a wholesome and intellectually stimulating activity as Yahtzee. For KIDZ! Here is a picture of young Joseph in his Yahtzee uniform.
Disturbingly, he looks most innocent when wearing this uniform.
Here he is, as a young priest, blessing the congregation. Or something like that.
Then I discovered that our pope has had a movie career, or at least tried to start one. This is just another little-known fact that you can only find on Wikipedia (my new BFF). When I saw this publicity still, I was very surprised:
I was only aware of two other iterations of the Grinch story. There is the animated Seuss version, with Boris Karloff doing the narration and voice of the Grinch (inspired casting!), and there was the live-action film starring Jim Carrey. I did not know of another version. WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED OF THIS?!
Wait… what’s that? OHH. This is a still from the screen test for “Bad Santa.” Eventually they went with Billy Bob Thornton for the title role. So, yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus. In your NIGHTMARES.
Another thing I learned is that, coincidentally, we have just passed the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Yep. It was on April 19, 2005 that the newly elected pontiff took up residence in Vacation City (so named for all the tourists who regularly visit it, especially in the spring and summer months).
On the fifth anniversary of his election, I’d say this pope needs our prayers more than anything else. Certainly more than the traditional anniversary gifts you would give a pope. (Quick rundown of appropriate papal gifts: 1st anniversary is typically commemorated with a set of rosary beads; 2nd anniversary–a crucifix; 3rd–an incense burner, nothing too ornate; 4th–a front-yard shrine of Mary; and this year, the 5th anniversary–the frabjulous Infant of Prague statue, the one where he is holding the Holy Hand Grenade, or whatever that orb-like thing is). Five years—a milestone, really.
Let’s leave Pope Week! (it was a great Pope Week, wasn’t it?) with this thought: As Vatican spokesman Cardinal Lorenzo Linguini said last week, “The pope needs our prayers in these difficult times. Many evil powers are conspiring to bring the Church down through gossip and lies. He is the guardian of the faith. Think of him as God’s Rottweiler. He needs your prayers and support, and occasionally, a good scratch behind the ears. Also a nap. A nap would be good.”
Some will pray that Pope Benedict, our own German Shepherd, will gain the strength he needs (through napping and prayer), to be ready to bite the faces off those who have the audacity and courage to point out the many instances of egregious hypocrisy in the Church.
Whenever I hear insane rationalizations like those that have been coming from the Vatican recently, I think: WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) And the answer is: the opposite of what the Vatican is doing. Of that I’m sure.
Your move, Holy Man.