I have as much authority as the Pope. I just don’t have as many people who believe it.
The talking heads think we all just can’t get enough of that papal resignation stuff. Me, I’m trying not to sound or think like one of the old folks (What happened to February? Where does the time go?!). Meanwhile, Washington Post opinion writer E.J. Dionne Jr. tried one more tactic to get us to care about the papal succession, and threw in his two ducat’s worth, by positing that the best choice for pope may be a nun.
Dionne admits to certain pesky impediments, such as the fact that in the RC-world, “Women, after all, are not yet able to become priests, and it is unlikely that traditionalists in the church will suddenly upend the all-male, celibate priesthood.” Nevertheless, he opines that handing leadership to a woman (read: a nun) “would vastly strengthen Catholicism, help the church solve some of its immediate problems and inspire many who have left the church to look at it with new eyes.”
Amazingly, Dionne’s bio lists him as an opinion writer, and not a humorist.
I understand and recognize jesting, and satire and irony. Dionne’s article is free of all three. The dude is actually serious.
Appointing another pope, no matter what the shape, color or national origin of its genitalia, will not help anyone with 21st century eyes to look at Catholicism with new eyes. As for helping his religion solve some of its “immediate problems,” those of us who’ve left any – and every— religion know that it doesn’t matter how you dress it up or down.
Religions – from the liberally acceptable and/or relatively benign Wicca, Neo-paganisms, women-and-gay-ordaining protestant denominations, to fundie Mormon wife collectors, Pentecostal snake handlers, foam at the mouth homophobe evangelists, pontificating papal pederasts, and all the “moderates” in between – are simply incorrect. Their (mis)understandings of the world are based on mythologies and unsubstantiated claims that, while defensible for illiterate, scientifically ignorant Bronze Age denizens to have held, have no basis in reality.
Absurdity playing dress-up is still absurdity. Donning the robes of religion does not make the illogical tenets of theology logical. Changing the gender, age, ethnicity or national origin of a religion’s figurehead is a meaningless PR gesture, as the figure will still be nunsense nonsense in drag.
”I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.”
* * *
I don’t know what triggered the following, college-days memory. But, unlike the remnants of the vegetarian chili I had for lunch, I’m grateful for its resurfacing.
GS, a friend who lived down the hall from me in my dorm, had to write a VIP  for his physiology class. The class was mostly filled with pre-vet school students , who were very competitive with one another. The assignment: delineate the actions of all muscles, both separately and in tandem, involved in executing a certain task of your choosing (e.g., opening a jar of pickles or blinking an eye).
The professor warned his students that the assignment was far more difficult than they realized; thus, he was going to give them two shots at it, so to speak. Those students who were able to turn in (what they thought were) their completed research papers at the end of the week would receive the benefit of the professor reading, but not grading, their papers over the weekend. The Prof would note suggestions for improvement and/or expansion and return the papers to the students on Monday, thus giving them a chance to revise their work before the final version was due on Tuesday.
GS, who had done a bit of trout fishing in high school, decided to describe the process of casting a fly. He was humbled and frustrated as he researched and wrote his paper and tried to describe the various muscular actions involved in what, to him, had seemed a simple, almost instinctive action. This paper consumed his life, all week, and his dorm friends heard all about it…but he was able to turn in his paper on Friday. On Monday he received his paper back, with his professor’s comments. The Prof noted that although GS’s detailed analysis of the kinetic choreography of the shoulder, upper arm, forearm and hand was impressive, as an avid fly fisherman himself the professor knew that GS had neglected to consider and enumerate the lower body motions (hip rotation, pelvic propulsion, foot placement, etc.), involved in casting a fly. 
GS realized he was way in over his head, and had a dark night of the soul Monday evening. I saw that he was still pacing the halls, his paper in his hands, when I left Tuesday at 5:30 am to go for my morning run. I didn’t run into him again until Friday evening in the dining commons. I, of course, asked what had happened with his revisions. He said he’d turned in his final paper as originally written, with no changes except for an addendum to his opening thesis: “This paper analyzes the coordinated muscular action of a person casting a fly, the person being a T-4 paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair, with no voluntary muscle movement below the nipple line.”
His paper received the highest grade in the class.
* * *
Ways to feel really stupid inadequate incompetent.
#542 in a series
In all the excitement during the past couple of years, what with finding a publisher for finalizing the contract for The Mighty Quinn and taking notes for two more juvenile novels, another adult novel and short fiction collection, I neglected to check my own notes to see that I had not, in fact, done the final edits on the novel I had started to submit to agents and publishers.
I discovered this just recently. Thus, even as I’ve been enjoying the final editing process, I have to take time out ten times a day to do a Holy Jean Luc Picard on my forehead. I so did not make it so. Jeesh.
The more I thought about the current events of the past week, the more I wished I could be serenaded by goats.
Be careful what you wish for. Who knew goats could sound like old men complaining about stale toast, and scream like slasher movie victims?
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 I can’t believe I’ve gone this far without a footnote.
 Very Important Paper.
 UC Davis has a world-renowned veterinary schools. When I was a mere UCD undergrad, the vet students did an excellent job spaying my cat, and didn’t seem to mind that she bit at least two interns during her post op appointment.
 No footnote here. There’s nothing to see, folks. Keep moving on.