JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The New Pope

Just learned that Pope Benedict XVI is stepping aside to open a Happy Days-themed wax museum in Wisconsin.

Now, the Catholic Church needs a replacement.

I have an idea.

No Pope. Like, none, zero, zip. Here’s an idea, instead: How about Catholics read the Bible and come up with their own takes and opinions? If you think the Bible damns gays to hell, damn gays to hell. If you think the Bible damns gays to hell, but you find portions of the Bible to be flawed, don’t damn gays to hell. If you think touching a pig’s skin is immoral, don’t do it. If you think pre-maritial sex is OK, have it. If you don’t—don’t.

I’ve never understood the Pope. I mean, I understand he’s the head of the Catholic Church and, therefore, the closest human to Jesus Christ, blah, blah, blah. What I don’t get, though, is millions of people actually listening to him. I mean, this guy—Benedict XVI—was ridiculous. Unbending, confused, strict. Under his watch, the Catholic Church embarrassingly handled the most horrible episode in its history (the molestation of many). He was a joke. A fool. Sad and pathetic.

And yet—what do we expect? Come day’s end, he’s just a guy. A really, really sheltered guy. He’s 85 and as out of touch as any 85-year old. I can’t imagine taking his advice on what movie to see, never mind how I can live a moral and fruitful life.

Oh, one other thing. Stop talking about the afterlife. It’s ludicrous. Even if there is an afterlife (there isn’t), to use it as a dangling carrot seems to defeat the whole purpose. Aren’t we supposed to be decent because decency is righteous?

Glub.