Mystery meet

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Apropos of nothing.

Conversation in the office:

“Black smoke over the Vatican,” says Dave Foto. “You know what that means.”

“It means they haven’t picked a pope,” I reply.

“Did you know they vote 30 times before they go to a simple majority?” he continues.

“Yeah, I remember when they picked the first John Paul, and then they had to pick another John Paul about two months later. I think there have been almost 300 popes. In fact, you could say they’ve picked a peck of popes since they first picked Peter.”

“I’ll bet you’ve been waiting awhile to use that line,” interjects Kris Vagner. “Got a page comma dummy?”


It is truly hard to sit in my chair and keep my mouth shut as the new pope is selected. I’ve never—never—met a priest or a brother I didn’t like. I only met one or two nuns I didn’t like, but they didn’t like me first. I’ll tell you something else: the higher the station of the priest, the more charismatic. That’s been my experience, at least.

So who am I to sit here and say I hope the new pope will reform some of the church’s more anachronistic policies: unmarried priests, women priests, contraception and, of course, the Docetism of Valentinius? There are more than 1 billion Catholics on this tired planet of ours (probably more than a million practicing), and if the Catholics ever got behind the mandate given in Genesis to take care of the planet, well, it would be a better world.

But with the selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, now Pope Benedict XVI, the hope for a sudden change in direction seems unlikely.

Of course, I’ve long been in trouble with the Catholic Church. I’m the guy who accidentally said the F-word in front of the bishop when I dropped some lemon wedges. While I was serving mass. Confirmation mass.

I guess that means I’m going to hell, anyway.